- posted: Nov. 23, 2014
Last week we attempted to answer the question "What is my case worth?" Today we learn 20 Secret Ways to Increase the Value of Your Accident Case. A PI case is always about treating injuries and then about recovering the maximum amount of money for your pain and suffering. You are entitled to as much money as your lawyer can get for you.
The TIPS below will help you get more money than your neighbors when you have an accident.
Call the police. The police obtain information and lock in liability so you do not later have "a phantom wit". Do not admit liability to the police or guesstimate speed. If you guess the speed at 45 mph and it turns out to be 15mph the defense will argue you exaggerated everything...including your injuries
Write down the name, address, phone and email of all parties and witnesses.
Use your cell phone to take pix/video of the scene, the cars, everybody's injuries, and take a statement of the other party and wits.
Go with paramedics via ambulance to the hospital & don't be macho. Do not have your friend pick you up and/or drive there yourself.
Tell the ER and treating doctors everything that hurts starting with the top of your head and working down to the bottom of your toes.
Tell EACH doctor ALL of your symptoms. If you do not tell the doctor everything and 3 weeks later remember to tell the doctor about a pain on your side, the insurance company will argue, how do we know the Victim did not slip and fall getting out of the shower and saying it was part of the accident!" If one of your biggest injuries is your inability to lift a young child whose hands go in the air to be picked up right after the doctor has told you not to lift that weight and you worry if this will damage the young child. Share that with your doctor and a psychologist.
Do not treat with your own doctor. Your doctor may be a great physician but not be experienced in preparing a medical/ legal report which is essential to getting top dollar.
Do not take your car to the body shop of the insurance company or your neighbors for a "deal". It is harder to settle a case with reduced property damage of $3500 than if the PD is $6500.
TAKE DOWN YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA. A good attorney will tell clients to remove Facebook & other posts. When you claim injuries and post yourself golfing or playing tennis after you told the doctor about your pain it makes you look like a liar.
Do not miss doctor's appointments. The defense will argue you were hurting you would have kept your doctor's appointment. The same is true when you delay medical treatment after the accident. You are decreasing the value of your case.
Dress nicely and be well groomed with clean nails and polished shoes when you have an appointment with an adjuster or have your deposition taken. My first job with an insurance defense law firm was to write a letter to the carrier describing the claimant. They want to know how "saleable" the victim will be to a potential jury as it is a factor.
Hire a local lawyer with lots of PI experience and is well respected in the community. A lawyer from out of town will not have the connections with the court and they will be more inclined to not drive down here for depo's etc....and god forbid you want to meet with them to discuss your case!
Have your lawyer try to negotiate to reduce your medical and insurance liens. Every dollar they save goes to you not them.
Don't give a statement. It can ONLY hurt your case if you are not 100% consistent in the future or if the adjuster writes down something incorrectly. Remember, the insurance co is not your friend.
Make a statutory policy limits demand when appropriate thus giving the insurance company 30 days to pay. Otherwise they arguably "open their policy" so that if the award comes in for more than the amount of insurance coverage they are on the hook and have to pay.
Review jury verdicts to see what other juries have awarded with a similar factual scenario in this county.
Read my Overview of an Accident Case to learn what happens on these cases. If you do not have one contact me via email or phone and I will send to you.
Hire a lawyer who understands how the insurance companies Colossus computer settlement program works.
Treat with an MD rather than a chiropractor for maximum value. An experienced doctor will order regular physical therapy rather than saying "take an aspirin for pain and come back in a month".
Be Patient. Accident cases do not settle as quickly and for as much money as they did years ago.
Remember, When you drink don't "Pull a Bieber" and get behind the wheel and have an accident (whether it is your fault or not) or get arrested for a DUI: DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE, CALL A TAXI.........IT IS A LOT CHEAPER THAN HIRING ME!
Dale Gribow has been "Rated" TOP LAWYER by Palm Springs Life Magazine from 2011-2019 and has a Superb AVVO Legal Rating by his fellow attorneys. Dale Gribow has been Man of the Year 7 times including the City of Palm Desert and the City of Hope and Dale Gribow Day has been declared 4 times. He previously had a Radio Show "Accidentally Yours and is the only attorney appointed in December 2013 to the Coachella Valley Association of Government's Public Safety Ad Hoc Blue Ribbon Committee addressing Drunk Driving. This group consists of the police chiefs from every city and the mayor of each city as well as the Sheriff of Riverside County and the head of the CHP and Border Patrol. In addition Gribow is the only attorney asked to be part of the Clinton Foundation's Clinton Health Matters Committee addressing Drunk Driving. Gribow is also one of the founders of Shutdown Drunk Driving formed upon the death of his client who was killed by a drunk driver while jogging recently.
If you have any questions regarding this column or ideas for future columns please contact Dale Gribow Attorney at Law at his NEW number 760-565-0533.