HOLIDAY AUTO ACCIDENT? TIPS ON WHAT TO DO
Nov. 30, 2022
CHRISTMAS TIME is a time that attracts lots of tourists and traffic. I remember coming here every Christmas holiday for the parties at the PS Riviera Hotel and cruising Palm Canyon with water guns. Of course during the holidays, you be prepared for Checkpoints throughout the CV. The main purpose of these checkpoints is not for DUI arrests, but rather to warn us to drive safely.
My Legal Columns and radio show were entitled, “Accidentally Yours”. I informed my readers/listeners to write down all the facts of how the accident happened. My advice is to always list what hurts, from the top of your head to the bottom of your toes. A lawyer needs this information, and let’s face it, your memory is better shortly after the accident than it is 6 months or several years later.
After the accident, I advise my clients to use their cell phone to take pictures of the damage to the cars, injuries, the other driver’s license, and at fault driver’s insurance card. In addition, victims should get statements from the wits, and get the other driver’s statement. With today’s smartphones, this is easy to do.
When injured, drivers should seek a medical evaluation asap. An ambulance validates the injuries severity and provides the information a lawyer needs to get you a maximum recovery. Unfortunately, often victims do not 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 they were not at fault.
Your talking to the defense lawyer or defense insurance company adjuster, puts your lawyer at a disadvantage, as it provides INFORMATION to the defense. A client does not 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 you say.”
Clients should take down social media, as it is the latest trick used by the defense in both Accidents and DUI cases. The defense will Google the victim in an auto crash, and check Facebook etc, to gather information on you. 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 thus were 1 hour late for golf or tennis, it arguably suggests you were not hurt that badly. If while treating, you post about playing a sport, going dancing, or on a ski vacation, this might suggest you were ok and thus faking your injuries…..or so the defense would argue. Obviously, one can be injured and still play tennis or golf, but with some pain.
It is harmful to your case, if you delay seeking medical help, or see your own family doctor, who says “go home and soak in a hot bath and come back in a month or two.” When you call the next month you are told there are no appointments for 30-60 days. When you see the doc again s/he says the same thing and you return 1-2 months thereafter. After 3 visits, over 6 months, you may be discharged with a bill of $600, and the insurance company offers $1000. Then you want to know why your case wasn’t worth a lot more since you were in pain for 6 months and still hurting?
The bottom line is that, “If you don’t see a doctor on a regular basis, the delay reduces the case value, and the case may not be financially worthwhile for an attorney. In other words, the insurance company will argue if you were really injured you would have found a way to get medical care.”
Ideally, you should see a doctor you have never seen before, so there are no skeletons in your closet when this doctor prepares a medical report. Notes in the doctors file of substance abuse, abortion, venereal disease, prior injuries etc are fair game and negatives to some jurors. In addition, you need to treat with a doctor that knows how to write medical/legal reports. If you delay treatment, the insurance company will argue the treatment may not have been from this accident. They ask how do we know you didn’t Slip and Fall in the shower or at home and then say it was from the accident? The bottom line is that adjusters are paid to downplay the severity of the accident and the amount to be paid to you.
Sooo, protect yourself and retain an experienced LOCAL PI lawyer and not someone you see advertising on TV! YOU DESERVE SOUND LEGAL RESULTS, NOT SOUNDBITES!