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 the same facts.
For a successful Accident case you must:
- STOP and take cell phone pictures of cars and injuries. Call the police even if no apparent injuries:
- Don’t talk to police or insurance!
- 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 CERTAINABLY 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 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 and whether you took take an ambulance, the amount of the medical bills, appointments missed, number of treatments, etc. It then spits out a settlement value.
- 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 s/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:
Insurance companies recommend body shops with whom they have a working relationship and who agree to keep the damage estimates low. When settling the case, the adjuster argues since the property damage is low, then how could the Victim have been 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 CV 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 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.
11 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: Silence is Golden and Handcuffs are Silver so DON’T TALK to POLICE without your lawyer’s permission.
REPRESENTING THE INJURED AND CRIMINALLY ACCUSED
“TOP LAWYER” – California’s Prestige Magazine, Palm Springs Life (PI/DUI) 2011-20
“TOP LAWYER” – Inland Empire Magazine 2016- 2019
PERFECT 10.0 AVVO Peer Rating
“PREEMINENT” Rating – Martindale Hubbell Legal Directory
“DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE OR TEXT AND GET A DUI OR ACCIDENT. CALL A TAXI, LYFT OR UBER. THEY ARE A LOT CHEAPER THAN CALLING ME”. SO DRIVE SOBER OR GET PULLED OVER.
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