With Coachella and Stagecoach, our CV has been inundated with traffic. More traffic means more accidents. However, we must forgive an at fault driver for an accident, because it is just that… an accident and not an intentional act. The accident victim deserves to be fairly compensated for their pain and suffering. However, what goes into determining value?

Unfortunately, being in an accident does not mean you will receive a fair settlement offer from the insurance company. You did not win the lottery because you were rear ended. Many potential clients do not understand why their case is not as valuable as their neighbors…with similar facts. Remember, You are not in Good Hands and Your Friendly Neighbor will not give you a Piece of the Rock.

For a successful Accident case you must:

STOP and take cell phone pictures and video of cars and injuries. Call the police, even if there are no apparent injuries.

Don’t talk to police or insurance company adjuster.

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TAKE DOWN YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA. The insurance companies are watching your Facebook and Twitter posts which may show you playing sports or talking about a vacation. This arguably suggests you are OK and do not need medical treatment and that you are able to lift your luggage.

Get medical attention immediately, preferably by ambulance. Many Victims do not realize the severity of an injury and do not seek immediate treatment. Later they realize the pain they are experiencing is accident related. Some victims do not take an ambulance because they have to pick up their kids, or because they are concerned about the hospital and ambulance costs. Without immediate medical treatment in the first 3 days, many lawyers are not interested in the case. This is because the insurance company will argue if the victim was really injured they would have sought immediate medical treatment.

The Victim should NOT give the hospital their insurance/Medicare/Medicaid information:

Once Medicare/Medicaid is notified, it takes 6-12 months to get them to respond to lien payment information. In addition there is a new law that the only medical bills that can be considered by the jury are those not paid by any insurance or Medicare/ Medicaid. Today the insurance co has a computer program (Colossus) that analyzes the property damage, amount of med bills, appointments missed, number of treatments, taken by ambulance? etc. It then spits out a settlement value to offer.

Contact a Lawyer immediately, so the insurance co can’t contact you. If you are not represented by an attorney, the insurance company can contact you and try to get a statement. Your lawyer will never know what you said or what the adjuster/investigator thought he heard you say. With a lawyer, there is less of a chance for a “mistake” by the insurance company.

Ask your lawyer for assistance in obtaining medical care on a lien.

Go to your lawyer’s body shop. The Insurance companies usually recommend body shops, with whom they have a working relationship, and who agree to keep the property damage estimates low. When settling the case, the adjuster argues, since the property damage is low, then how could the Victim be injured. The last thing a lawyer wants is for his client to get his friend to fix the car cheaply.

You should have high auto liability and UM coverage, because many of our neighbors have no insurance or inadequate limits. Be sure you have Medical Payments coverage. No matter who is at fault, you can present a claim under the med pay section of your policy, for up to that amount of money needed to pay your medical bills. With $25,000 of med pay coverage, you can collect up to $25,000 from your own policy no matter who is at fault.

Follow your lawyers’ instructions.

Do not sign anything. It could be a release or an authorization for medical records. Do not trust the adjuster who says if you have further problems they will take care of it.

Remember: Handcuffs are Silver, BUT SILENCE IS GOLDEN… so DON’T TALK to the POLICE, or INSURANCE CO, without your lawyer’s permission.

SUGGESTIONS FOR FUTURE ARTICLE? CONTACT DALE GRIBOW 760 837 7500/ dale@dalegribowlaw.com

DALE GRIBOW

REPRESENTING THE INJURED AND CRIMINALLY ACCUSED

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