If you are dealing with a major accident, whether your own or one of a family member, you are likely to face many challenges. Getting through an accident is never easy, especially if you have to deal with the heartbreaking death of a loved one. We consulted with medical, financial and grief counseling experts to help provide victims with some basic information about the post-accident process. We want to do everything we can to help you get through this difficult period of your life.
If you have any additional or specific questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our team today. We will work hard to do what we can to get answers and help for you and your family.
Sadly, many accidents result in the lost life of our loved ones. Even a miraculous survival of an accident sometimes doesn’t feel so miraculous when another passenger of the vehicle passes on from injuries sustained. This can leave the survivor distraught & filled with grief and even guilt. We asked grief counseling expert Linda Flatt “How do I personally cope/deal with the loss of a loved one?” and she was kind enough to provide us with the following information that helps put into perspective how to handle personal feeling of loss.
“REFLECTIONS OF A SURVIVOR OF LOSS
A BASIC PLAN FOR SURVIVAL
Choose to Survive
We must make a conscious decision to be an active participant
in our own healing process.
Feel the Feelings
We must give ourselves permission to grieve deeply for a season.
While on the healing journey
we must ask God and safe, supportive people
to be our traveling companions ~ to share our sorrow,
ease our fears, defuse our anger, and process our guilt.
In relationship we have a much better chance to reclaim our joy.
Practice Acceptance and Forgiveness
We must give ourselves grace and truth and time
to eventually accept our loss and forgive others and ourselves.
Slowly Get Back In the Game
All the while we must gently and gradually
ease ourselves back into reality.
Be the New You
We are forever changed, yet essentially the same…
living, breathing, loving, inherently precious
children of God.
Share Your Experience
We can now be seasoned traveling companions
for other survivors on the recovery road.”
Additionally, we understand how difficult it can be to help our other loved ones through the healing process. Many of our closest friends and family members will also be hit hard by any loss. In considering the question “How do I help someone else who is dealing with the loss of a loved one?”, Dr. Yvonne Hart of the Las Vegas Grief and Counseling Center helped us to understand that fact that grief is commonly misunderstood. She offers the following advice:
“Let’s normalize grief so that our feelings are not challenged by others.
Let’s clarify grief so that our perspectives are accepted by others.
Let’s educate ourselves so that we do not become the victims of useless and hurtful information.
The truth is that there are a lot of people who think that they need to say something when it is probably better just to say nothing. They could say ‘I don’t’ know what to say!
Most people are very uncomfortable about grief and do not have the adequate skills to cope effectively with the grief reaction of others. Their discomfort creates your discomfort. They feel as if they are “put on the spot”. They really don’t want to talk about it. They do not know how to be supportive and generally they have not walked in your shoes. If they have, they clearly do not understand their own grief process and they want to avoid it by focusing on someone else’s.”
The unnecessary and hurtful statements made by others from friends or family are not intentional but, may summon feelings of anger, rage, and disbelief. So lets move on to what is helpful. Let’s look at what it means to normalize, clarify, and to educate so that this experience can become transformational in positive and helpful ways.
Normalizing grief simply said….
“‘Grief is the normal and natural reaction to loss of any kind’ (James, 1998).
‘Grief is the conflicting feelings caused by the end of or change in a familiar pattern of behavior’ (James, 1998).
‘Grief is longing for a loved one’s presence’ (Kumar, 2005).
‘Grief is a broken heart’ (James, 1998).
‘Grief from the death of a child is trauma” (Farley, 2012).
‘The terrible emotional pain of grief tends to have a life and process of its own” (Kumar, 2005).
‘There is no magical cure for grief’ (Levine, 2005).
‘We hold our grief hard in the belly’ (Levine, 2005).’”
If you have lost a loved one in an accident, it is very normal to feel overwhelmed with personal grief. This can make dealing with issue such as the funeral extremely challenging. To help in this emotionally challenging process, Molly Gorny of FuneralWise.com, provided us with practical advice on planning a funeral:
“Funeral planning is one of those things that people just don’t want to talk about. Of course, that’s understandable, but it doesn’t mean that it’s going to go away. At some time or another, you’ll need to plan a funeral. Exactly how you go about it will depend on whether you are planning ahead or making arrangements for a funeral that will happen right away. If you are planning ahead, bravo! Creating a funeral plan is one of the best gifts you can leave behind. It takes the guesswork out of the process and let’s your family give you the ultimate celebration of your life exactly the way you want it. For a funeral that will take place right away, your best first step is t o contact a funeral director. He or she will help you work through the process. For a step-by-step guide to making funeral arrangements see https://www.funeralwise.com/plan/how_to/
Regardless of when the funeral will be, there are basic choices that will need to be made. It’s best to consider these items before you meet with a funeral director. That way, you’ll have a framework to help guide you in your selections of funeral products and services.
1) Set a budget: How much you spend for a funeral will depend on a number of factors. If you have a financial range in mind, it will help you avoid making impulse purchases and overspending. The FTC Funeral Rule requires that you be presented with a full range of options for funeral products, not just the most expensive. You are always entitled to choose a less expensive product. You are also permitted to purchase products from third party vendors.
2) Method of Interment: Your religious beliefs or culture may help narrow down your choices when it comes to how you would like the body handled. Assuming you are open to all options the most common methods include:
3) Type of Service: At a traditional funeral service the body is present, at a memorial service it is not. A traditional service typically includes a visitation or wake before the funeral. If you opt to have a traditional service you will need to select either an open or closed casket. Whether you choose a traditional or memorial service, you will be able to design the actual service. For example, would you prefer a secular service or a religious one? What readings and music would be appropriate? Who you would like to speak? If you are working with a funeral director, he or she can help you make selections that will fit within your budget. If you are planning ahead, you can take your time and do some research in order to pick exactly what you want. While you may feel under pressure to make decisions right away, it can help to slow down a bit to catch your breath. If you are uncomfortable with the guidance you are receiving from the funeral home, do not hesitate to ask questions or turn to another provider. Above all, give yourself a break. Funeral planning can be difficult under the best of circumstances. If you are also grieving it can be overwhelming. If you need help, turn to family and friends. There are also resources available online that can help, such as the funeral planning resources at Funeralwise.com at https://www.funeralwise.com/plan/”
“When you set out to plan a funeral the temptation is to jump right in and start with the details— the casket, the music, the readings, and all the other elements that make up the service. Yes, you’ll need to make all those choices. But the best way to start is by thinking about one often overlooked element of funeral planning—the budget. It’s not glamorous and certainly not fun to think about a final farewell in terms of how much money you want to spend, but in the long run, having a realistic budget will help guide you in selecting the funeral products and services that are best for you or your loved one. Think about planning the funeral like you were planning a wedding or a celebration for some other important life event. The truth is, that’s what it is—the ultimate celebration of life. Would you race in to planning without deciding how much you can afford? For that matter, would you plan a big event like that at the last minute? That’s where advanced planning comes in. Planning your funeral in advance is the best gift you can leave behind. It takes the guesswork out of it for those you leave behind. Whether you are planning a funeral for yourself or for a loved one, start at the very beginning by deciding what you can afford without breaking the bank. Once you know that, the other pieces will fall into place. Regardless of your budget, you can plan a beautiful tribute that celebrates and honors a life well lived. Funeralwise.com offers helpful tools for estimating the cost of a funeral. You can complete a Funeralwise “Quick Plan” in just a few minutes and get an instant funeral cost estimate. To learn more, visit Funeralwise.com at https://www.funeralwise.com/plan/”
Accidents also often come with substantial medical costs. Whether the costs were incurred because of your own accident, or because of the accident of a loved one, you may be left feeling overwhelmed thinking about how you will handle the financial burden. Mike Keeler at PeakFinancialSolutions.com graciously offered the following guidance:
“One thing people don’t always know is you can negotiate your bills. I once complained that a $500 bill was too much, so they offered to settle it for $25.”
“To make an injury settlement last longer, you need to create a plan for using the money and stick to it. We had a client who received a large settlement for a head injury. He was no longer capable of doing the same work, so this settlement was very important for living expenses. We had created a plan for the client, but unfortunately the ‘gottas’ were in the way. I gotta have this, I gotta have that, and I gotta have it now. Had they stuck to their original plan, he never would have had to work again, but unfortunately they spent the money and he had to find another job.”
Tim Bock at Summit Portfolio Management, also provided us some very useful advice on:
“For many, medical expenses can be an ongoing burden and hinder us from making other purchases, saving for retirement and improving our quality of life. In order to prevent these consequences it is important to have a solid understanding of what our medical coverage does and does not cover and to take steps to prepare for the unexpected. The following recommendations can help avoid and prevent paying more than you should for medical care.
Step 1: Use a Health Savings Account (HSA)
If you are eligible for one, using an HSA can help to reduce the after tax cost of medical expenses and have the added benefit of being used as a vehicle for de-facto retirement savings. If you’re generally healthy and want to save for future health care expenses, an HSA may be an attractive choice. Or if you’re near retirement, an HSA may make sense because the money can be used to offset costs of medical care after retirement. On the other hand, if you think you might need expensive medical care in the next year and would find it hard to meet a high deductible, an HSA might not be your best option. Like any health care option, HSAs have advantages and disadvantages. As you weigh your options, think about your budget and what health care you’re likely to need in the next year.
Step 2: Review Your Health Insurance Policy
Knowing what your health plan does and does not cover is critical if you want to make informed decisions about your medical care. Be sure you know what your copays are for prescriptions and doctor’s’ visits so that you can include them in your budget. Learn about your deductible and any co insurance that may become effective after the deductible is met. Know which doctors and specialists are in your network so that you don’t end up paying more for care from a doctor who is outside of your network. These things are often overlooked or not considered until after the fact and the financial impact can be way too big for something that could have been easily avoided with a little bit of education.
Step 3: Negotiate with Your Insurance Company
One way that insurance companies make money is by operating under the assumption that most people will not dispute the coverage decisions that they make. There is a great deal of fine print that can be interpreted one way by an insurance company and another way by a policyholder. With a bit of effort you may be able to negotiate with your insurance company about claims and, in some cases, making a formal appeal or complaint can result in a reversal of their initial decision not to cover something.
Step 4: Negotiate With Your Healthcare Provider
Increasingly medical providers are willing to negotiate with patients on the cost of care, particularly when the alternative is the risk of not getting paid at all. High out-of-pocket costs are increasingly common as health insurance coverage, both private policies and employer-supplied coverage, trends toward higher deductibles and co-pays.
If you are uninsured or your insurance doesn’t cover a procedure, ask if the medical provider would be willing to do it for the same price they would get reimbursed for from an insurance company or Medicare. That could knock about 30% to 40% off of the cost and many doctors and hospitals are open to doing that. The “Healthcare Blue Book” lists the “fair price” for medical claims, which is what providers would typically accept from insurance companies as payment in full, and is usually less than what a patient gets billed.
Step 5: Negotiate a Payment Plan with Your Healthcare Providers
Many providers are willing to reduce the cost of procedures if you are willing to pay in full on the day of and, if you do not have insurance at all or you have a high deductible, then you can request a self-pay discount or an interest free payment plan. Going directly to the billing department of the hospital or care provider can help reduce the burden and get you speaking to the person who is actually processing your payments. Most billing departments will accept even a small monthly payment to avoid sending the bill to collections. It is when you do not pay at all that a bill is sent to collections, and then you start paying interest.
Last Resort: If the hospital or doctor won’t give you a break and your medical bills are out of control, enlist the help of a nonprofit or professional advocate that can help bargain for you. There are specialists who typically keep a percentage of the reduction they negotiate for you — perhaps a third. These services often provide one-on-one coaching, including negotiating with doctors and hospitals.”
When it comes to keeping medical costs down, it is also important to consider what types of alternative treatment might be available. For instance, many people who have been injured in accidents could actually receive better treatment at a lower cost by visiting a chiropractor. Dr. Julie Quan at Quan Chiropractic helped clarify some of the benefits of seeking medical help from an experienced chiropractor:
“Chiropractic care is about the nervous system. Your nervous system is the master system of your body. It is made up of your brain, spinal cord, and nerve fibers that branch off from the spinal cord and extend to ALL PARTS OF THE BODY, including the neck and arms, torso, legs, skeletal muscles and internal organs. Think of it as the central processing unit (CPU) of your body. The CPU is located inside the computer case on the motherboard. It is sometimes called the brain of the computer, and its job is to carry out commands. Without the CPU, your computer will not be able to function properly, or at all. The same goes for your nervous system. When it is not working at its best, it could cause an array of problems in your body, such as sensations of pain after an injury.”
“1) Chiropractic care is only for neck and low back pain: Because chiropractic care is about taking care of the nervous system, which controls ALL of the other systems in our body, it is so much more than just for neck and low back pain. It is important for the total health and wellness of the entire body. Our posture is the window to our health. We do not claim to heal/treat any disease, but we can remove the interference, which allows the body to heal itself. Our body is the best doctor in the world. It has the ability to heal and self-regulate if it is working at its best. Patients come in for migraines, allergies, constipation, acid reflux, carpal tunnel, bunions, low energy, irregular menstrual periods, painful cramping, and more.
2) Why do I need to go to a chiropractor if I wasn’t in a MVA?: For wellness, prevention, or any general health concerns (see above). Chiropractic is a lifestyle, a choice to be healthy and thrive.
3) Chiropractic care could be dangerous, especially adjustments to the neck: Within the Chiropractic profession, there are hundreds of adjusting techniques. The system that I practice is called Gonstead Chiropractic. It is a specific, hands on adjusting technique that involves NO rotation to the neck and low back. Although rare, excessive rotation of the spine is what usually causes injury to a patient.
4) Newborns/toddlers/teens do not need chiropractic care (even if they are in the car during a MVA): Although children involved in MVA typically do not show signs of injury or pain, it is important to at least get them checked. They too may experience the same type of whiplash that the driver experiences, but because they are unaware of the accident prior to impact, they are more flexible and do not appear to be injured. In addition, infants/toddlers do not feel pain the same way that adults do. They do not have predisposing conditions that may exacerbate any injuries from the MVA. They may or may not show signs of trauma when they are in their teens or early 20s; therefore, it is best to make sure that they are in alignment as a preventative measure.”
The compassionate attorneys at Ladah Law Firm can help. For assistance navigating the process of recovery & compensation, please do not hesitate to contact our Las Vegas office today. Our attorneys will review your claim, free of charge. We have helped many victims recover fair compensation for the full extent of their losses.