At The Scene:

They do not want the victim to use their cell phone and takes picture of the cars, witnesses, parties, insurance cards, CDL, injuries and then take video of the driver admitting liability and speeding.

The insurance company doesn’t want a police a report or for the victim to take an ambulance to the hospital. Delay in treatment allows the carrier to argue if there was an injury there would have been immediate treatment. Many lawyers reject soft tissue accident cases if there is no ambulance or hospital right after the accident.

Picking an attorney:

A victim without the name of an attorney BEFOREHAND is stressed and disorganized and cannot think straight. They hire a TV advertising “mill” attorney or worse yet they use their business or estate planning attorney who knows nothing about this area of the law.

The less competent the attorney the less the case is worth. Out of town attorneys do not know the local court personnel and judges preferences. LA or San Diego lawyers are less likely to make court appearances…especially in the summer.

Local lawyers know the defense attorney’s which may yield to an early settlement. A lawyer who was also in an accident will yield a lawyer who truly understands the pain you are going through and the change to your quality of life.

Body Shop:

Don’t go to the insurance company body shop or use a friend who has body shop and will do the work for less. This plays into the hands of the insurance company as the amount of PD is important when settling.

Choosing a doctor:

The insurance company wants victims to delay treatment and then treat with their family doctor. Their doctor may be competent to treat but may not be trained in preparing a medical legal report. For years I would annually lecture to the International College of Surgeons on How to Write a Medical Legal Report.

When you treat with your own doctor your existing medical records can have damaging information such as prior injuries, drug/alcohol use, and mental issues. Notations about an affair, sexually transmitted disease and an abortion can likewise prejudice a jury against the victim.

You must immediately see the doctor and not be given an appointment two weeks later. When that happens the adjuster can argue how do we know the injuries were from the accident and not a slip and fall in the shower or around the pool in the last few weeks. They will argue if the victim was really hurt s/he would have treated right away.

A good local lawyer has doctors with whom they can use up a favor to get you an appointment right away. This alone can make the difference between a successful resolution or a substandard one.

Social Media:

The new tool used by insurance companies is checking out the victim’s Facebook posts so take down social media until the case is over. The insurance company can see information about the victim playing tennis/ golfing or going on a trip and lifting luggage.

They can also get the names of friends of the victim and contact them to try to dig up dirt. All this can reduce the value of the case and plays into the hands of the carrier.

If you have any questions or suggestions for future columns contact Dale Gribow 760-837-7500



“TOP LAWYER” – Palm Springs Life (DUI/ACCIDENT)2011-2017 (California’s Prestige Magazine)

“TOP LAWYER”- Inland Empire Magazine Nov 2016

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