- posted: May 27, 2020
Did you make New Year’s resolutions? Most of us can’t keep them. I personally resolved to lose 10 pounds, and I have 15 to go. Even if you could or did, what happened to your resolutions after CV19 hit us?
Clearly you can’t resolve to not get CV19, nor can you resolve to never be in an accident. The odds are you and/or a friend will have an accident this year and/or be exposed to CV19.
Most of us think that accidents are what happens to other people. If you are going to get into an accident, it is more likely to happen on a holiday weekend. Memorial Day is the busiest one for accidents. There are usually more cars on the road with people going to the beach or Palm Springs
Because of CV19, not everyone is leaving home yet. Thus traffic is not as busy as normal and there were fewer auto accidents. If you do have an accident it will be more difficult to get med treatment…if you can find a doctor in his/her office.
However, IF you or a friend were in a Memorial Day weekend accident, DO NOT HIRE A LAWYER UNTIL YOU READ THIS. Now, what should you do, and what will the insurance company do? Of course, they will Deny and Delay settling your claim.
Initially, REMAIN SILENT. The defendant’s insurance company will initially assign a nice sweet adjuster who will 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 saw a doctor. Then they will switch adjusters and assign an unpleasant one.
Adjusters have their own bag of tricks. When they take a picture of the car they may ask you to get in the picture. 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 that shows the driver does not appear to be having any problem bending and s/he is even smiling.” When juries see this kind of evidence, they question whether you were really injured. Did you think you had hit the lottery?
TAKE DOWN YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA /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.
Take cell phone pictures of the scene; property damage; driver’s license; insurance info and record statements from everyone. Get the defendant’s phone number, email, 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, to be sure you are not injured. 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.
Ideally, you should see any doctor, other than your regular treating doctor, because we all have skeletons in our personal med records. Documentations 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 regular medical notes.
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 a lawyer for several days, attorneys are also reluctant to accept the case. This is because the lawyers 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 defendant's insurance company can’t legally contact you. Have a suggestion for future columns? Contact Dale Gribow at 760-837-7500 or send an e-mail to [email protected].