The ABC’s of an Accident Case or “You are not in good hands and your friendly neighbor will not give you a piece of the rock!”
Law is a communication or information gathering game. That is why it is important to list the date/time/location of accident and name, address, phone number and emails of all witnesses. If you have a cell phone with a camera take pictures at the scene of the damage to the cars and location of the accident. As soon as possible you should take a picture of all your observable injuries from head to toe. Of course, we can hire investigators to take the pictures, but I am reluctant to spend my clients’ money with this unnecessary expense if we can do it ourselves
If you are injured, you should immediately go to the ER or Urgent Care. Going by ambulance is better than your driving as it shows a greater degree of injury. Many victims do not want to waste money or use the ambulance that can better be utilized by someone who is more injured. This is all part of the documentation and information gathering that is necessary. If you do not go to the doctor/hospital/urgent care that day, many lawyers will not accept your case. The same is also true if you do not contact a lawyer right away.
Social Media is here to stay and is the latest trick of the defense. They can Google you or go to your Facebook account and contact Facebook friends to get statements about you. 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. The same is true if you blog/post about going dancing, to the beach or on a ski vacation. This information would suggest you were ok and that you were faking your injuries…..or so the defense would argue. We all know one can be injured and still do physical activities, but with some pain.
The best suggestion is to take down your social media until the case is resolved. I have seen cases where there are U Tube posts of a client drinking out of control at a party or embarrassing videos of a client. They can be disastrous to the case. The defense is now asking their clients to take down their social media too.
Under no circumstances should you talk to any insurance company about your case without first getting approval from your lawyer. Sometimes your insurance company will also be the insurance company of the at fault driver. Thus we want to be sure the case is described correctly to the insurance companies involved.
We normally reject a case when a client talks to the adjuster or delays treatment because these cases in 2012 are currently VERY difficult to resolve. I always suggest to my clients that if they are contacted by the insurance company to explain that you would be happy to talk to them, however your business lawyer has advised you to always get your lawyer’s permission first. Then ask for their name and number to call them back. Once you call us we will call them and explain it is the policy of our office to not let our clients give statements. The client should ALWAYS be shown to be the good guy. Let your lawyer be the bad guy.
This is part 1 of a 4 part series. Stay tuned for more info next week.