We all make NY’s resolutions…but most we can’t keep. You can’t resolve to never be in an accident. The odds are you or a friend will have an accident this year.
BUT IF YOU HAD A RECENT HOLIDAY ACCIDENT …DO NOT HIRE A LAWYER UNTIL YOU READ THIS.
Now what do you do and what does the insurance company do when you have an accident? Of course they will Deny and Delay paying any money.
Initially, KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT. Understand, 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.
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 damage to your car. 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 and thought you had hit the lottery.
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 the accident take cell phone pictures of the scene, damage to both cars and copies of driver’s license and insurance info. Then record statements from everyone. Get the defendant’s name, address, phone number, email, driver’s license, insurance info and the license plate of the other car.
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.
Go to the ER to be checked out right away. Have someone drive you if you cannot get an ambulance to take you. Many injuries are not obvious right away and soft tissue injuries may take days to surface. Insurance companies punish you when you don’t seek immediate medical treatment.
See any doctor other than your regular treating doctor because we all have skeletons in our personal med records. Indications of abortions, alcohol, drugs, sexually transmitted diseases and prior injuries can be very damaging. You also want a doctor experienced in preparing a med/legal report, not just a regular medical report.
Many lawyers won’t accept a case where the victim did not get med treatment within 24 to 72 hours. If you don’t 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. Your lawyer will never know what you said or what they thought they heard you say and that could be used to impeach you at trial.
Lastly contact an attorney that specializes in accident cases. Once you have retained a lawyer the defendants insurance company can no longer legally contact you.
Suggestion for future columns: contact Dale Gribow 760-837-7500 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“TOP LAWYER” – Palm Springs Life-(Accidents) 2010-18
“TOP LAWYER” – Inland Empire Magazine Nov, 2016
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