HOLIDAY ACCIDENTS ARE THE HARDEST TO HANDLE

By | November 22, 2016 at 4:30 am | No comments | Columns, Dale Gribow on the Law

By Dale Gribow

This week is Thanksgiving and the holidays are clearly upon us… and that means more tourists and traffic. This increase in local traffic results in more accidents and DUI’s with accidents. It is hard for an accident/DUI lawyer, as well as the victim, to find a good doctor (or lawyer) that has time to treat (represent) the client or one that is not on vacation over Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s.

Victim’s injured right before these holidays are left to “punt” trying to find a doctor/lawyer that will/can see them. Many doctors/lawyers are on vacations with their families or are over booked and cannot work a new patient in for two weeks. Most of these medical providers will be out of the office during the holidays from Fridays and will not return until Tuesdays over a holiday weekend.

In addition many lawyers do not answer their call until the beginning of the next week and thus the victims have no idea what to do. If the victim waits two weeks to see a doctor, kiss the case good bye. The insurance company will later argue that if the victim was really injured they would have treated at the ER, or Urgent Care Centers.

When a victim thinks they will be ok in a day or two and/or talks to the insurance adjuster they are damaging their case to the point that many lawyers will not accept their case. I have explained this in previous article such as “Mr. Gribow, Why Won’t You Accept My Accident Case?” Victims are often afraid of getting in an ambulance or seeing a doctor and getting billed. They do not realize the insurance company for the party at fault will pay for these bills. Most drivers have medical payments coverage in their auto policy and or Health Insurance that will also pay up to the purchased limits/coverage.

Many prospective clients do not know their policy limits or cannot find their policy. It is important to know this information because the other driver may not have insurance. If so we would present an uninsured motorist (UM) claim against our clients own policy…if s/he had UM coverage. It is important to note that a medical provider is primarily concerned about getting paid for his/her work just the same as a hospital or urgent care. If the injured party cannot find their policies they often must resort to using a credit card to pay for treatment. An experienced lawyer can often get treatment on a lien.

Insurance companies love holiday claims because claimants do the wrong things that ultimately reduce the value of their claim. For instance, new claimants may call the insurance company and say things they should not have said. On the other hand, the adjuster may write down things they think they heard the party say. The most important thing the victim can do is to take pictures of their injuries and of their car and video recordings of the witnesses’ statements to the accident with their cell phone camera. Also take pictures of the other driver’s insurance policy and driver’s license.

In these scenarios, typically no one has advised the victim that they should see a doctor right away to document the injuries, let alone have the victim prepare a summary of their injuries. When preparing this summary, the victim should write down their symptoms/injuries by starting with the top of their head and moving to the bottom of their toes.

Additionally, the victim should see a medical provider they have not seen before. This is because their current medical providers have records that document prior injuries, alcohol or drugs issues, psych referrals, SDT’s, abortions etc. Though these records may have nothing to do with the accident, many jurors will incorrectly think less of the victim on account of these issues.

As a lawyer, I always advise my clients to not post anything on social media following the accident. The last thing you want is for the insurance company to find client’s posts of their playing tennis, golf, running in a marathon etc. while they are allegedly complaining they cannot do anything because of the amount of pain they are encountering.

Because of the mistakes and challenges listed above it is hard to maximize the value of an accident case and these cases often result in a smaller settlement. As a result many lawyers will be reluctant to accept these cases.

If you have any questions regarding this column or ideas for future columns please contact Dale Gribow 760-837-7500 or dale@dalegribowlaw.com.

DALE GRIBOW

“TOP LAWYER” – Palm Springs Life-(Accidents) 2011-17

“TOP LAWYER”- Inland Empire Magazine Nov 2016

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