Coachella and Stagecoach attract many tourists resulting in more cars on the road. We don’t need the Easter Bunny to predict heavy partying resulting in more Accidents and DUI’s.
In my weekly legal show, Accidentally Yours, I warned: PEOPLE DON’T PLAN TO FAIL, THEY FAIL TO PLAN. So read this missive to learn what to do if you are an accident victim.
Know your policy limits and keep proof in your glovebox. If the at fault driver doesn’t have coverage, or enough coverage, we make an uninsured motorist (UM) claim. Remember all medical providers are concerned about payment. If you cannot find proof of insurance you use a credit card rather than a lawyer’s lien doctor.
Go to the ER to be sure you are ok and to document injuries. Write down all your symptoms so you won’t forget to tell the doctor everything. Thus there is less chance of the doctor not writing something down. It is not just what the doctor heard but what they “thought they heard”.
Your lawyer helps you get medical care from a lien doctor you have not seen before. This is important because current medical providers records 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.
Social media should be taken down after an accident. The last thing you want is for the insurance company to find victim’s posts of tennis, golf or skiing while complaining of constant pain.
Because of the victim’s mistakes and challenges it is hard to maximize the value of an accident case, resulting in smaller settlements. Thus many lawyers reject these cases.
The most successful cases have the following in common, helping to establish liability and damages. Ideally a victim should take pictures and gather info at the scene.
Phones allow us to take pictures of damage to all parties and vehicles…and to get statements before they talk to the insurance company or lawyer and revise what happened.
Call the police even when there were no apparent injuries but don’t admit fault. The accident report provides information on all parties, witnesses and liability, proving who was at fault. If the police do not arrive you must get the above info yourself. Remember Silence is Golden.
Don’t give statements to anyone as it is evidence and consider the following:
- Get immediate medical attention ideally by going by ambulance to the Hospital or Urgent Care:
- Don’t provide Medicare/MediCal information until you talk with your lawyer:
- Contact a LOCAL Lawyer and use his/her doctor and body shop:
- Purchase high auto liability and UM coverage: Many locals have no insurance or inadequate limits so we make an uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage claim.
- Buy Medical Payments coverage: Irrespective of fault your medical bills can be paid under this section.
- Follow your lawyers’ instructions and agree to go to trial when necessary. Sometimes the attorney has to threaten, or go to trial, to get the true value of a case from the defense. Some clients refuse to go to trial because of skeletons in their closet: an abortion they did not tell their husband about; illegal drugs; a venereal disease; seeing a psych or notes of an affair.
- Do not sign anything: The paper you sign could be a release…or just an authorization to obtain your medical records.
DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE, CALL A TAXI, LYFT OR UBER………THEY ARE A LOT CHEAPER THAN HAVING AN ACCIDENT OR DUI AND CALLING ME.
Questions/ ideas for future columns, contact Dale Gribow 760-837-7500/ firstname.lastname@example.org.
“TOP LAWYER” – Palm Springs Life (DUI/ACCIDENTS) 2011-2018
“TOP LAWYER”-Inland Empire Magazine Nov, 2016