#7 MISTAKE: Not asking enough questions about how fast the other car was going
QUESTION: What do I need to ask my patient about the impact of their car accident?
ANSWER: To protect your credibility and your patient’s case, it’s necessary to ask your patient a series of clarifying questions about how fast the other car was going at the time of the collision to help get an accurate speed at impact.
Not asking enough questions about how fast the other car was going is the seventh biggest mistake that we see happening in your patients personal injury claims. This is in one of those categories that has to do with maintaining your credibility. If the information that you get from your patient is not accurate and you’re basing your opinion on false information — it’s going to undercut your credibility. It’s not necessarily because you did something wrong, it’s that you need to ask additional questions to insure what your patient tells you is accurate.
When I’m meeting a client for the first time, and they are telling me how fast the other car was going — the conversation will go something like this: “How fast was the other car going that hit you?” “Oh, thirty miles an hour.” And I ask, “Did you see the car before the collision happened?” “No, I didn’t.” Then I’ll say, “So how do you know it was going thirty miles an hour?” They respond, “Well, because that’s the posted speed limit.” Or they’ll say, “Because the impact just felt really hard.” And while that is the speed limit and the impact felt hard, that is not evidence that the car was going thirty miles an hour when it hit my client.
If a patient says to you during your first meeting with them, “The car was going thirty miles an hour.” — there are a couple very simple follow-up questions that you need to ask to protect your credibility and also your patient’s claim. Ask your patient the same questions I ask my clients: “Did you see the car before the collision happened?” Or, “Did you see the car long enough to figure out how fast it was going?” Most of the time, people are going to respond with, “No I didn’t.” And then they will say, “I based my speed estimate upon how the impact felt, and what the speed limit was where the accident happened.”
Protect your credibility. Protect your patient’s case by asking a couple of simple follow up questions about how fast the other car was traveling at impact.