For those of you that asked me Sunday at Pat Rizzo’s celebration of life to post this week’s legal column:
My regular legal column readers know that I often comment that law is an information-gathering game. We all know it is not a game though insurance company’s take that approach. I am often asked Why is that true for an auto accident?
“Both my Los Angeles Legal Column and my radio show were entitled, “Accidentally Yours”. In them, I often informed my readers/listeners to write down all the facts of how the accident happened. I tell them to list what was hurting them from the top of their head to the bottom of their toes. A lawyer needs this information, and your memory is better shortly after the accident than it is 6 months or several years later.
I tell my clients to use their cell phones at the scene to take pictures of the damage to the cars, injuries, the other driver’s license, and insurance card etc. In addition, a driver should get statements from the wits and get the other driver’s statement. With today’s smartphones, this is easy to do.
If injured, drivers should go to the ER or Urgent Care for a checkup asap. Travel by ambulance is better than driving to the hospital, as it validates the seriousness of the injury and provides the information your lawyer will later need to get you a fair settlement.
However, many victims do not want to spend money on the hospital, ER, or ambulance. They do not realize they will get it back in SPADES in the settlement if they were not at fault.
The victim/plaintiff that talks to the defense lawyer or adjuster puts his lawyer at a disadvantage as it provides INFORMATION to the defense. A client does not always remember what they told the adjuster and it is not just what the victim said, but what the adjuster/attorney THOUGHT s/he heard them say.”
Victims should all take down their social media. Checking Social Media is the latest trick used by the defense in both Accidents and DUI cases. The other side will Google the victim in an auto crash and check your Facebook to gather information on you. They may also contact your Facebook friends to get negative information about you.
For instance, IF you post you were just in an accident and thus were 1 hour late for golf or tennis, it arguably suggests you were not hurt that badly. If you blog/post about playing a sport, going dancing, to the beach or on a ski vacation, while you are still seeing a doctor, this might suggest you were ok and thus faking your injuries…..or so the defense would argue. We all know one can be injured and still play tennis or golf, but with some pain.
Some clients wait a week to see their family doctor who tells them “go home and soak in a hot bath and come back in a month or two.” The next month the doctor says the same thing and they returned 2 months thereafter. After 3 visits, over 6 months, they were discharged with a bill of $600 and the insurance company offers them $1000. They then want to know why their case wasn’t worth a lot more since they were in pain for 6 months and they are still hurting?
The bottom line is that “If you don’t see a doctor on a regular basis, the delay may decrease the value of future treatment. The value of the case is lowered substantially, and the case may not be financially worthwhile for an attorney. In other words, the insurance company will argue if you were really injured you would have found a way to get medical care.”
Ideally, you should see a doctor you have never seen before, so there are no skeletons in your closet when this doctor prepares a medical report. In addition, you need to treat with a doctor that knows how to write medical/legal reports.
If you delay treatment, the insurance company will argue the treatment may not have been from this accident and ask how do we know the treatment is from this accident.
The insurance company thinks all claims are false. They ponder whether you slipped and fell while running around the pool or fell in your shower and then you thought, “I will say it is from my recent accident.”
Representing the Injured and Criminally Accused
“TOP LAWYER” – California’s Prestige Magazine, Palm Springs Life (PI/DUI) 2011-21
“TOP LAWYER” – Inland Empire Magazine 2016- 2019
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