- posted: Jan. 06, 2023
We all know that rain means the roads will be slippery and auto accidents will follow. If you were in an accident over the holidays, there are 12 keys to increasing the value of your accident claim. These will allow you to be fairly compensated by the at faults parties insurance company. Put this information in a safe place.
Stop, Take Pictures and Gather Info at The Scene:
California law requires everyone in an auto accident to stop and exchange information. Cell phone pictures of both cars and all occupants will help to establish causation and the severity of the accident. Get cell videos and statements from all parties and witnesses, before they talk to their insurance company or lawyer and revise what happened. I can’t stress how important this is!
Call the Police, Even when There Are No Apparent Injuries
The police report will provide information on all parties, witnesses and liability showing who was at fault. You are not a lawyer or doctor, so don’t admit fault or say you were not injured.
Do NOT Give a Statement
A statement is evidence so get your lawyers permission first. If the other driver is uninsured or lacks adequate insurance, then your insurance company will pay under YOUR OWN UM policy. However, they will defend as if they are the insurance company for the other driver. REMEMBER SILENCE IS GOLDEN AND HANDCUFFS ARE SILVER. Don’t expose yourself to liability by saying something or having them THINK they heard you say something you didn’t say!
TAKE DOWN YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA. Insurance companies watch your Facebook, Twitter and social media posts which may show you playing sports, talking about the accident or on a vacation. These arguably suggest you are OK or not getting medical treatment. In addition though you told the doctor you could not sit for long you did for the trip and you were able to lift luggage etc.
Get Medical Treatment ASAP
Many Victims do not realize the severity of their injury and do not seek immediate treatment. Later, they realize the pain they are experiencing is accident related. Some victims do not take an ambulance because they have to pick up their kids or because they are concerned about the hospital and ambulance costs. Absent immediate medical treatment, insurance companies argue if the victim was really injured they would have sought immediate medical treatment.
Do NOT Give Your Medical Providers Medical Insurance/Medicare/Medicaid Information
Once Medicare/Medi-Cal is notified it takes 6-12 months to get them to respond to lien payment information...without which the case will not be settled. New laws now control what bills can be presented to the jury as out of pocket costs for which the client is responsible.
Contact a Lawyer Immediately
If not represented, the insurance company can contact you and get a statement. Your lawyer will never know what you said or “what the adjuster/investigator thought he heard you say”.
Your Lawyer Will Get You Medical Care on A Lien
Many doctors don’t know how to prepare a med/legal report which is essential for obtaining the full value of your case. For years, I lectured on How to Write a Medical/Legal Report to the International College of Surgeons at their yearly conferences. The doctor’s report is almost as important as the injuries the doctor wrote down.
Physical Therapy: A family doctor often suggests you go home, take a hot bath and aspirin and then return in a month. Lawyers should urge clients to list all injuries from the top of their head to the bottom of their feet…and to take that to each doctor’s appointment.
Use Your Lawyer’s Body Shop
Insurance companies recommend body shops with whom they have a working relationship and who agree to keep the damage estimates low. When settling the case, the adjuster argues that since the PD was low, how could you be injured. The last thing a lawyer wants is for his client to get his friend to fix the car cheaply.
Purchase High Insurance Limits
Unfortunately, many CV neighbors have no insurance or inadequate limits. If so, we make an uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage claim with your carrier. Thus YOUR limits are important.
Purchase Medical Payments Coverage
Irrespective of fault, you can present a claim under the med pay section of your policy to pay your medical bills.
Follow Your Lawyers’ Instructions
Agree to go to trial when necessary to maximize the value of your case.
Do Not Sign Anything
It could be a release or authorization to obtain your medical records. Do not trust the adjuster who says “if you have further problems they will take care of it”.
My practice is focused on people and protecting their consumer rights. We deliver results, not false promises, and get top dollar on our cases. When the case is successfully concluded, our clients tell us we were courteous, professional and caring and that we “DID TURN WRONGS INTO RIGHTS”