What you do and say after a car accident can have a direct impact on if, and what, the victim will recover. A minor car accident can cause the most reserved driver to become irritable, angry, or unreasonable, and more serious accidents often leave victims dazed, confused, and disoriented.
I explain to clients that we are all like a glass of water filled to the top with responsibilities before the accident. We have the same challenges afterwards, but now we have to worry about seeing a doctor, going to a body shop, contacting insurance, getting a car rental etc. This forces extra water into the glass, causing us to spill over. The least serious thing can cause us to overflow and explode, at what are usually our loved ones.
You’re to shaken up or injured post-accident to think clearly. After an accident don’t Apologize or Admit Fault in Any Way. Don’t apologize for the accident and see what you can do to rectify the situation. Normally apologizing is good manners, even if you’re not responsible…but it can also unfortunately be an admission of liability.
Remember, “Silences is Golden and Handcuffs are Silver” so Don’t Talk. Some statements that could potentially be viewed as an admission of fault are: 1. “Sorry, I received a text and looked down at my phone.” 2. “I knew I should have had my brakes checked.” 3.”I’m exhausted from work, I may have dozed off for a moment” 4. “Sorry, I must have missed you in my blind spot.”
Though true, they may not be the cause of the accident and it sounds like you are admitting fault. You may have been tired, however the accident may have actually been caused by another driver running a stop sign and not your delayed reaction time. Say as little as possible about the specifics of the accident and avoid apologizing.
Avoid Social Media that May Call the Severity of Your Injuries into Question. Insurance adjusters and lawyer review social media. Thus talking about your golf or tennis game may suggest to some that you were not hurt, since you were able to play sports. However, many people don’t realize that social media usage can have implications for a car accident victim’s ability to recover compensation.
Most compensation for pain and suffering reflects a victim’s limited day-to-day activities. If a car accident victim claims to be in significant pain and unable to engage in daily activities without discomfort, it contradicts those claims to post pictures of going out with friends, exercising, traveling, or engaging in other leisure activities that tend to indicate good health. Of course if you do post we would argue that you played through significant pain.
The other side uses these posts as justification to lower or even completely withdraw a settlement offer. Don’t Discuss the Accident with the Other Party’s Insurance Company or Lawyer. Not only will your attorney never know what you told the other party but it is common for the other party to write down what they “thought” they heard you say. It is important for victims to remember that the other party’s attorney is ethically bound to represent his or her client’s interests. In addition, insurance companies are in the business of making money and train their adjusters to minimize the amount paid to you.
Refer all callers to your lawyer or tell them to leave their name and number and you will have your attorney call them back. Once they know you are represented by an attorney they can’t legally contact you. The value of a case considers current and future: 1. Medical expenses 2. Lost income 3. Property damage 4. Loss of enjoyment of life 5. Physical and emotional pain and suffering so don’t avoid treatment because you can’t find a doctor on a lien. Our office has relationships with doctors, experts, body shops etc.
If you have any questions regarding this column or ideas for future columns please contact attorney Dale Gribow: 760 837-7500 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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