If you are injured in any type of accident, it’s a good idea to seek the services of an experienced attorney. If you have passed the age of 50, it’s even more important to have someone on your side with the knowledge to help you navigate the legal system and avoid the obstacles that might keep you from obtaining the reimbursement you require to pay for your medical bills and other expenses related to your pain, suffering and inconvenience.
“People older than 50 are more susceptible to injury,” says Steven Goldberg, a partner in the Steinberg Law Firm. “For example, an older person might be injured in an automobile accident, but his 20-year-old son might survive the accident without any problem.”
Goldberg points out that just about everyone over the age of 50 has some degree of degenerative spine disease, which can be a problem in more ways than one. It’s a medical issue, but it also might give an insurance company a reason to try to avoid paying for your medical care following an accident.
“An MRI will find degenerative spine disease, and the insurance company will use that as a weapon against you,” Goldberg says. “The insurance company might argue that the accident wasn’t the major reason for your injuries – that your spine was weakened before you were involved in the accident.”
Goldberg notes that insurance companies will try and use your age against you in most types of injury cases, whether you’ve been hurt in an auto accident, a fall, in the workplace, by defective products or even in medical malpractice cases. For instance, an insurance company might question why it took two years for a broken arm to heal or argue that you could not possibly have been injured in an auto accident because there was minimal damage to the vehicles involved in the wreck.
That’s exactly why you need an experienced attorney in your corner, Goldberg says – to prove that you did indeed suffer painful and possibly debilitating injuries in the accident and that compensation is warranted. He cites the case of a client who was hit by a car and had multiple broken ribs, which led to a series of other medical issues.
“There are more severe injuries in older individuals. Bones, muscles, tissues and ligaments are more easily injured and slower to heal, and sometimes there are infections,” Goldberg says.
He adds that there is another reason for older people who have been involved in an accident to hire an attorney – especially if they are Medicare recipients. He says that if Medicare pays your bills for an injury caused by someone else, the government program is entitled to recoup some of that money from the negligent party’s insurance company. He says if you fail to reimburse Medicare, those funds can be taken out of your Social Security check. An experienced attorney knows how to make certain that both you and the Medicare program are properly compensated.
The bottom line is that without an attorney on your side, you risk the unenviable task of taking on an insurance company and its team of lawyers on your own.
“You need an attorney if you’ve been in any type of accident,” Goldberg says. “The insurance company will always try to pay you as little as possible because they are in business to make money.”
The Steinberg Law Firm has offices in Charleston, Goose Creek and Summerville. To learn more, visit www.steinberglawfirm.com or call 843-720-2800.