Law is an information-gathering game. We all know it is not a game, though insurance company’s take that approach and use every possible opportunity to Deny and Delay. They will advise you they need more information and if/when you serve a lawsuit it goes to a defense law firm that bills hourly. They only make money if the case does NOT settle.  When a case is settled, they will Stall on sending the check. This is because there is an overnight value for money. If they delay sending checks to 100,000 claimants, think of all the money they can invest etc for a few days.

Let’s briefly retrace some of the things you have to do in order to not be run over by your insurance co after someone hits your car. “Accidentally Yours” was the name of  my  weekly legal columns in LA and CV papers as well my weekly radio show.

I advised my readers/listeners to write down all the facts on how the accident happened and what hurt them from the top of their head to the bottom of their toes. A lawyer needs this information, and one’s memory is better shortly after the accident than it is 6 months or several years later.

In addition, victims should use their cell phones at the scene to take pictures of the damage to the cars, injuries, the other driver’s license, and insurance card etc. They should get statements from the wits and get the other driver’s statement.

Going to the ER by ambulance is better than driving to the hospital, as it validates the seriousness of the injury. Many victims don’t want to spend money on the hospital, ER, or ambulance. They don’t realize they will get it back in SPADES in the settlement.

If the victim talks to the defense, s/he puts the lawyer at a disadvantage as it provides INFORMATION to the defense. A client doesn’t always remember what they told the adjuster… and it is not just what the victim said, but “what the adjuster/attorney THOUGHT s/he heard them say.”

Taking down social media is important, as it’s the latest trick for PI and DUI cases, for the other side to gather info. They Google the victim and check Facebook sites. They may also contact your Facebook friends to get negative information about you.

For instance, 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. If you blog/post about playing a sport, going dancing, to the beach or on a ski vacation, while you are still seeing a doctor, this might suggest you were ok and thus faking your injuries…..or so the defense would argue. We all know one can be injured and still play tennis or golf, but with pain.

Some clients delay seeing their family doctor (or can’t get an appointment). Their doc tells them “go home and soak in a hot bath, take aspirin for pain  and come back in a month or two.” The next month the doctor says the same thing and they return 2 months thereafter.

After 3 visits, over 6 months, they were discharged with a bill of $600 and the insurance company offers them $1000. They then want to know why their case wasn’t worth a lot more since they were in pain for 6 months and they are still hurting?

The bottom line is that if you don’t see a doctor as prescribed, on a regular basis, the delay may decrease the value of future treatment. The value of the case is lowered substantially, and the case may not be financially worthwhile for an attorney. The insurance company will argue if you were really injured you would have found a way to get medical care…even in the Age of Covid”.

Ideally, you should see a doctor you have never seen before. That way there are no skeletons in your closet when the doctor prepares a medical report. In addition, you need to treat with a doctor that knows how to write medical/legal reports. I was honored to be selected annually, to lecture to the International College of Orthopedic Surgeons convention. I can tell you that most docs do not understand how to write a med/legal report.

If you delay treatment, the insurance company will argue the treatment may not have been from this accident and ask how do we know the treatment is in fact from this accident? The insurance company thinks all claims are false. They ponder whether you slipped and fell while running around the pool or fell in your shower and then you thought, “I will say it is from my recent accident.”

Do yourself a favor and contact an experienced PI/Accident lawyer in your area to maximize your recovery and not get Run Over! Remember, the insurance company isn’t your friend; you will not be in good hands and your friendly neighbor will not give you a piece of the rock.