IT IS TRUE YOU MAY NOT NEED AN ATTORNEY. HOWEVER, BEFORE YOU TALK TO THE ADJUSTER, OR HIRE AN ATTORNEY, OR SIGN ANY FORMS, JUST RAISE YOUR HAND AND ASK ME FOR A FREE CONSULTATION AND WE’LL TALK ABOUT IT.
TO SAFEGUARD YOUR ACCIDENT CASE AND MAXIMIZE YOUR PI RECOVERY:
- CALL POLICE: gather info; take cell phone pictures of car, license and insurance cards.
- HIRE A LAWYER ASAP so evidence does not get cold or destroyed.
- BE HONEST / DON’T HIDE PRIOR ACCIDENTS FROM LAWYER OR DOCTOR:
- DON’T MISS MEDICAL APPOINTMENTS: Adjusters know jurors expect victims will treat regularly without missing appointments. Otherwise, jurors ask “how badly could they have been injured”?
- PURCHASE ADEQUATE INSURANCE: Many CV locals DO NOT HAVE ADEQUATE OR ENOUGH AUTO INSURANCE. You need more than the minimum insurance on your car with elevated UM. Without more than $15k you are taking your life in your own hands. In the last 18 months, two of my clients died in separate accidents and the “at fault” party had $15k or NO insurance coverage AND my clients only had $15k. Guess what their family recovered for their death?
- PROPERTY DAMAGE: If your lawyer suggests a body shop…go there. Don’t take your car to a friend’s body shop so that your $7,000 property damage is fixed for $2,500. One insurance company criteria for settling, is to look at the amount of your car’s property damage. When it is low the insurance companies makes lower offers. REMEMBER, INSURANCE CO’S HIRE BIASED EXPERTS TO DENY AND UNDERPAY CLAIMS
- SILENCE IS GOLDEN: While talking to the police or adjuster remember this adage. It is not only what you say BUT what the adjuster or officer THOUGHT S/HE HEARD YOU SAY.
- GET IMMEDIATE MED TREATMENT: Refusing an ambulance because you didn’t want ambulance or medical bills hurts your case.
- DON’T HANDLE THE CASE YOURSELF: Don’t initially handle the case. Getting a maximum recovery is a “work of art”. Don’t put your bills through Medicare or Medicaid. There are many reasons but just don’t do it.
- DON’T TREAT WITH WRONG DOC: Don’t use your regular doctor! Instead consider a new one your lawyer suggests. Your doctor’s file has prior complaints and injuries and we all have skeletons in our closet… prior accidents; psych; venereal disease; abortion; alcohol or drug issues.
- SEE A DOCTOR EXPERIENCED WITH PREPARING MED/LEGAL REPORTS: The doctor’s description of your pains is critical. That is why for years I lectured to the International College of Surgeons at their annual conference on “How to Write a Med/Legal Report”.
- DON’T HIRE AN OUT OF TOWN LAWYER: Though good lawyers, they will not know the local judges and court personnel and a lawyer can often get a lot of info from them…if they are friends.
- DON’T POST ON SOCIAL MEDIA (FB): Don’t post that you’re feeling great or running to play tennis or golf. The insurance company argues if you were well enough to play a sport you couldn’t be hurt that badly. Take down Social Media, which is the biggest advance for insurance companies and law enforcement, who no longer have to investigate. Your daily posts could sink your case. Adjusters and cops can learn of and interview your friends to see how healthy you are and they may assume you are ok because you don’t complain.
You must realize that insurance companies do whatever they can to pay less money on a case… AUTO, HURRICANE, FLOODS, FIRE… IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE