We have several holidays/party events coming up, March Madness and the Superbowl. For much of the country, March Madness refers to The College Basketball Finals, as well as NASCAR, Golf and St Patty’s. But for locals it normally would also refers to our cancelled The Indian Wells BNP Tennis. Covid will probably not stop all these celebrations.

The increased traffic from special events, along with the drinking that accompanies them, creates a party environment…normally. Everyone drinks while watching these sports and of course St Patty’s and Cinco de Mayo?

Somehow, common sense should kick in for drivers to consider all the additional cars on the road, let alone being exposed to Covid. Of course parties means more DUI’s and Accidents. In addition, is this a good time to repair our roads during the height of traffic season…which often causes drivers to quickly change lanes. Wouldn’t it be prudent to hold off repairs until after the tournament?

Many of us will be sitting in front of our TV’s at home, bars and hopefully restaurants, and drinking all day. Hopefully everything will be open soon for us to enjoy all this. Many people foolishly drive home, unaware of how many beers and glasses of wine one can consume. However, when we drink outside of home we do not know how much alcohol the bartender poured.

With hard alcohol, 1 drink is probably not an oz. because the bartender wants to get a good tip and assumes a strong drink will help do that. A 1 oz. pour equals about one drink but a 3-4 oz. pour per drink is the same as 9 -12 drinks if we are talking about 3 drinks. Thus when we say we only had 2 drinks, we forget it is not the number of drinks but the amount of alcohol in each drink that matters.

Strong drinks, coupled with the increase in traffic and the other drivers who have had too much to drink, increases the number of accidents and DUI’s. Of course, getting lost, coupled with road repairs that cause lane changes and are “an accident waiting to happen”.

Historically, there are more DUI FATALITIES in the Coachella Valley, per capita, than anywhere else in California. Thus, it is logical that DUI arrests and accident fatalities spike during this time of year. Naturally our law enforcement agencies become more vigilant on these weekends. Of course, I have to stay close to my phone for clients that need assistance with an Injury Accident and or DUI.

Accident victims think they will be ok in a day or two, and innocently talk to the insurance adjuster and go to their family doctor. Doing that damages their case. Because of this, many lawyers reject these cases. I have explained this in a previous article…”Mr. Gribow, Why Won’t You Accept My Accident Case?” Please contact me if you would like a copy.

Victims are often afraid of getting in an ambulance or seeing a doctor and getting billed. They do not realize the insurance company, for the ‘at fault’ party, will pay for these bills. Most drivers have medical payments coverage within their auto policy and or Health Insurance, that will also pay up… to their coverage limits.

Many prospective clients do not know their policy limits or cannot find their policy. It is important to know this information because the other driver may not have insurance. If so, we would present an uninsured motorist (UM) claim against our clients own policy. Please find your policy or call your agent to be sure you have adequate coverage.

Having full coverage can mean a $15,000 policy or a $1Million policy. You don’t want a $15k policy.  If the at fault driver cause major injuries to you and or your passengers, and s/he is not insured, then the maximum amount you can collect is the amount of your coverage…..in most instances.

It is important to note that a medical provider is primarily concerned about getting paid for his/her work, as does a hospital or urgent care. If the injured party cannot find their health or auto insurance policies, they often have to resort to using a credit card to pay for treatment. An experienced lawyer can often get treatment on a lien.

Typically, no one tells the victim that they should see a doctor right away in order to document their injuries. In addition they should have the victim prepare a summary of their injuries and the facts of the accident. Using your phone at the scene to take pix of property damage to all cars, the insurance card and CDL of the other party, are very important. When preparing this summary, the victim should write down their symptoms/injuries by starting with the top of their head and moving to the bottom of their toes.

Additionally, the victim should ideally see a medical provider they have not seen before. This is because their current medical providers have records that document prior injuries as well as alcohol or drugs issues, psych referrals, SDT’s, abortions etc. Though these records may have nothing to do with the accident, many jurors will incorrectly think less of the victim on account of these issues.

I advise my clients to not post anything on social media after an accident. The last thing you want is for the insurance company to find your client’s posts of their playing tennis, golf, running in a marathon, while they complain they cannot do anything because of the amount of pain they are encountering.

Because of the mistakes and challenges listed above it is hard to maximize the value of an accident case and these cases often result in a smaller settlement. As a result many lawyers reluctantly reject many of these cases.