Victims of Michigan boating accidents and boating-related injuries should follow certain protocols after their accident to ensure that all their medical costs and other damages are paid for by their insurance company or whoever is responsible for the accident.
Most boating-related injuries are covered by an insurance policy for the boats or watercraft involved. If there is no insurance covering the vessel or the company denies the claim, a lawsuit will need to be filed against the person responsible for the accident. Either way, the injury victim will need to show that an accident occurred (it does not necessarily need to be a crash) and that the injuries resulted from the accident. The boating accident attorneys at Sachs Waldman, P.C., often see insurance companies and defense attorneys attempt to deny injury claims because the victim did not document the incident and resulting injuries adequately or made some other mistake. Our Michigan personal injury attorneys have assembled the following tips to help Michigan boaters ensure the best possible outcome for their boating-related injuries.
1. Get medical attention immediately
A delay in medical treatment not only can prolong your injury and make treatment more expensive, but could also be viewed as an indication that your injuries are less serious than you claim.
2. Tell medical care providers how your injuries occurred
Defense lawyers commonly argue that medical records give no indication as to how the injury occurred and suggest the injury was caused by something other than the accident their client is liable for. Making sure your medical file mentions the accident as the cause of injuries from the beginning eliminates use of this defense tactic.
3. Don’t discuss the extent of your injuries with anyone but medical care providers
You can’t know the true extent of your injuries until a medical professional examines you. Underestimating your injuries to insurance reps or even friends and family (including mentioning them on Facebook, Twitter or other social media) gives insurance companies and lawyers ammunition to deny claims for more extensive injuries if they’re discovered later. Refer people to your attorney if they must have a statement regarding your injuries.
4. Notify the U.S. Coast Guard of your injuries as soon as possible
Even if your injuries weren’t the result of a boat or watercraft crash, tell the Coast Guard about your injuries and how they occurred as soon as possible after the incident. Make sure you get a copy of the report. Early documentation of your injuries and the accident will help solidify your claims in court and prevent defense attorneys from suggesting a lack of Coast Guard report indicates a cause of injury other than a boating accident.
5. Get contact info from all boat captains, watercraft operators and others who were involved in or witnessed the accident
Names and contact information for everyone involved or people who witnessed the incident should be written down. Accident investigators will need this information to get a complete and accurate picture of how your injuries occurred and who may be at fault. Share the information with your Michigan boating accident attorney, the Coast Guard, and your insurance company.
6. Don’t sign anything for insurance companies without approval of your Michigan boating accident attorney and don’t admit your fault in the accident
Insurance companies love to persuade injury victims to sign release forms and make statements about being at fault before the injured person has a chance to talk to an attorney. These releases and statements can limit the insurance company’s liability so they won’t have to pay for all of an injured person’s medical treatment and damages. Always have your personal injury lawyer present when speaking to a representative of an insurance company.
7. Photograph your injuries and all boats, watercraft and vessels involved
Detailed photos of your injuries and the scene of the accident can help document the cause of your injuries and document weather and water conditions that might be relevant to determining what happened and who was at fault.
8. Go to all medical appointments and treatment sessions
Failing to attend scheduled medical appointments and treatment sessions can imply that your injuries aren’t as serious as you claim and reduce documentation of your injuries and healing progress.
9. Keep all receipts and bills for medical treatment
The best way to document the true cost of your treatment is to keep all receipts and invoices. Receipts show what you need to be reimbursed for when you pay costs out of your pocket, and invoices show all that you owe for treatment.
10. Call your Michigan boating accident and personal injury attorney Immediately
Your Detroit personal injury lawyer is the only person on your side in a Michigan boating accident. Claim adjusters and insurance reps do all they can to minimize their liability so they don’t have to pay for your treatment and damages. Call your attorney as soon as possible after your boating-related injuries so he or she can protect your rights.
11. Notify your insurance company
If you have an insurance policy that covers boating accidents you’re involved in, call them as soon as you are able after the accident. It’s best to get your attorney involved first, but the sooner your insurance company is aware of the accident and your injuries, the less likely they are to deny your claims or argue that your boating accident is not the cause of your injuries.
In Michigan, the boating accident attorneys at Sachs Waldman, P.C., can assist in protecting you against insurance companies and help you obtain compensation for your medical costs and other damages when you’ve been involved in a Michigan boating accident. Call our Detroit personal injury attorneys at 1-800-638-6722 to schedule a free consultation.