I remember coming to the CV every Memorial Day, in the 60’s & 70’s, for the poolside parties at the Riviera Hotel and Canyon Hotel, and cruising Palm Canyon with squirt guns. This weekend we have checkpoints, whose main purpose is not for DUI arrests, but rather to warn us to drive safely.
In my weekly Legal Column for the last 10 plus years, “Dale Gribow on the Law”, and my Talk Shows in LA and Palm Springs, entitled, “Accidentally Yours”, I advised, “write down all the facts of how the accident or arrest, happened.” With an accident, it is important noting what hurts from the top of their head, to the bottom of their toes. A lawyer and doctor, needs this information, and your memory is better shortly after the accident or arrest, than it is 6 months or several years later.
Using cell phones to take pictures of the cars, injuries, driver’s license and insurance cards etc is a must as is statements from the wits and the other driver.
Drivers should seek a medical evaluation asap. An ambulance, validates the injuries severity, and helps provide the information a lawyer needs to maxamize recovery. Unfortunately, often victims do not want, or have, the money to spend on the ambulance or going to Eisenhower or Desert Regional’s ER. They don’t realize they will get it back in SPADES in the settlement, if they were not at fault.
A victim (or arrestee), who talks to the adjuster/defense lawyer, puts their 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.”
Taking down social media is important, as it is the latest trick used by the defense in both Accidents and DUI cases. They can Google the victim in an auto accident, and check Facebook etc, to gather informatio. They may contact your Facebook friends, to get negative information about you, or learn about the sport or vacations you are taking.
IF you post you were just in an accident, and were 1 hour late for golf or tennis, it arguably suggests you were not hurt that badly. If while treating, you post about playing a sport, going dancing, or on a ski vacation, this might suggest you were ok and thus faking your injuries…..or so the defense would argue. Obviously, one can be injured and still play tennis or golf, but with some pain.
Delays in seeking medical help, or seeing your own family doctor, is harmful, when she/he says “go home and soak in a hot bath and come back in a month or two, if you are still hurting.” Then, you call the doctor and have to wait 3-4 weeks for an appointment. The doc then says the same thing, and you return 1-2 months thereafter. After 3 visits, over 6 months, you are discharged with a bill of $600, and the insurance company offers $1,000. Then, you want to know why your case wasn’t worth a lot more, since you were in pain for 6 months and still hurting?
The bottom line is, “If you don’t see a doctor on a regular basis, the delay reduces the case value, 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.” Insurance companies deny and delay, because they are in business to make money, not give it!
The insurance company may be assigned to cover your case, but will do so by paying out as little money as possible. They will come up with every excuse possible to pay less……….ie depreciation for a prior scratch on the car, miles on tires, and the cars paint job/ dents.
Ideally, you should see a doctor you have never seen before. This is so there are no skeletons in your closet, when this doctor prepares a medical report. Your mention of substance abuse, abortion, venereal disease or a slip and fall in your shower can kill your case.
Treating with a doctor who knows how to write a medical/legal report is crucial. If you delay treatment, the insurance company will argue the treatment may not have been from this accident and thus questions everything.
Insurance companies think most 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.” The bottom line is that adjusters are paid to downplay the severity of the accident, and the amount to be paid to you.
Sooo, protect yourself and retain an experienced LOCAL PI lawyer!