The odds are that you or a loved one will be in an auto accident….sometime. Now what do you do and what does the insurance company do when that happens?

You must initially KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT and understand that the other party’s insurance company will immediately assign a nice sweet adjuster to contact you and pump you for information. The adjuster will try to get pictures of the vehicle and statements from you as to how the accident happened and whether you were injured and had seen a doctor. Then they will switch adjusters and assign one that is not so nice.

Please understand that adjusters have their own bag of tricks. When they take a picture of the car they will ask you to get in the picture and right before clicking the pix they will ask you to bend and point to the spot of the Property Damage on your vehicle. At the last minute they yell SMILE!

Now they have you bending and smiling. Later when they get the doctor’s report saying the patient could not bend and was in a lot of pain, they will say to your attorney and or Judge “…look at this picture showing the driver does not appear to have any problem bending and is even smiling. When juries see this kind of evidence they question whether you were really injured or thought you had hit the lottery.

Today’s technology allows insurance companies to investigate your social media. Therefore you should IMMEDIATLEY TAKE DOWN YOUR FACEBOOK ETC. The last thing you want is for the insurance company to see pictures of you playing a sport and or doing something physical that you should not be able to do with your injuries.

After you are in an auto accident take out your cell phone and take pictures of the scene and damage to both cars. Then use the recording feature to take a statement from the other party and any witnesses. Get the defendant’s name, address, phone number, driver’s license, insurance info and the license plate of the other car. Share your indexing info with the other side and get all of theirs.

You should always call the police. You want as much documentation of the accident as possible for your lawyer. Stay at the scene until the police arrive. Remember you do not have to give your opinion as to liability even when you look to be partly at fault.

You should immediately go to the ER to be checked out………and I do mean right away. Have someone drive you if you cannot get an ambulance to take you. Many injuries do not surface right away and soft tissue injuries may take days to come out. Insurance companies punish you when you do not seek immediate medical treatment.

As a rule you should see any doctor other than your regular treating doctor. The reason is that we all have skeletons that can come out in our personal med records. Indications of abortions, alcohol or drug usage, sexually transmitted diseases and prior injuries can be very damaging. You also want a doctor that can do a med legal report, not just a regular medical report.

In addition many lawyers won’t accept a case where the victim did not get med treatment within 24 hours and some demand treatment that day. In addition if you do not see the lawyer for several days attorneys are also reluctant to accept the case because they worry you may have had a conversation with the adjuster and your lawyer will never know what you said that could be used to impeach you at trial. In addition it is not always what you said but what the adjuster thought he heard you say!

Lastly you should see an attorney that specializes in auto accident cases. Once you have retained a lawyer the defendants insurance company can no longer legally contact you.

If you have any questions regarding this column or ideas for future columns please contact Dale Gribow Attorney at Law at his NEW number 760-837-7500 or his new email: dale@dalegribowlaw.com.


“TOP LAWYER” – Palm Springs Life-(Accidents) 2011-17

“TOP LAWYER” – Inland Empire Magazine Nov, 2016

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