THE 15 BIGGEST MISTAKES THAT CAN DESTROY YOUR ACCIDENT CASE
CALL POLICE: You often need the police report to establish liability
WAITING TO LONG TO HIRE AN ATTORNEY: Once evidence gets cold or destroyed it makes it difficult to get maximum value on your case.
DO NOT HIDE PRIOR ACCIDENTS FROM YOUR LAWYER: The insurance company has extensive data bases and will find prior accidents and your hiding them can only come back to bite you…..you know where.
MISSING MED APPOINTMENTS OR GAP IN TREATMENTS: Adjusters know jurors expect someone injured to treat on a regular basis without missing appointments. Otherwise jurors ask "how badly could they have been injured"?
MISSING WORK: If the insurance co learns you could have worked but instead went to Europe for 3 weeks (because you were injured) will only hurt you.
INSURANCE: Many CV locals DO NOT HAVE AUTO INSURANCE. You need more than the minimum insurance on your car with elevated UM. Without more than $15k you are taking your life in your own hands. From December 2015 to January 2016 two of my clients died in separate accidents and the at fault party had $15k or NO insurance coverage AND my clients only had $15k. How do you explain to the survivors that they will only get $15k (if there are no other assets) because their loved one was under insured.
PROPERTY DAMAGE: Don’t take your car to a neighbor’s body shop so that a property damage bill of $7000 is only $2500. A criteria for settling is looking at the damage to the car. You don’t want your lawyer to present a small PD bill to the insurance company or jury. Beware if the adjuster meets to give an estimate and asks the driver to take a photo with you bending over and pointing at the rear dented quarter panel and right before he snaps the pix he says SMILE. You have complained to your med providers that you hurt and cannot bend and are in constant pain. That photo will be inconsistent with your medical complaints. ADMITTING LIABILITY: You talk to the police officer and by accident admit you are partly at fault. DO NOT SIGN OR ADMIT ANYTHING.
SILENCE IS GOLDEN: Talking to the Adjuster: the old adage that Silence is Golden is especially true with PI cases. It is not only what you say BUT what the adjuster or officer THOUGHT HE HEARD YOU SAY. DON’T GIVE A STATMENT TO ANY INSURANCE CO WITHOUT YOUR LAWYERS OK
NO IMMEDIATE MED TREATMENT: You refuse to go to the hospital by ambulance because you do not want to incur an ambulance bill or emergency room bill with your limited finances. Failure to seek immediate medical treatment hurts your case. In my office we get all medical treatment on liens.
HANDLING IT YOURSELF: Don’t initially handle the case. Getting maximum recovery is a "work of art". Don’t put your bills through Medicare or Medicaid. There are many reasons but just do not do it.
TREATMENT WITH WRONG DOC: Don’t go to your current doctor rather than one that has not seen you before. Your doctor’s file has all your prior complaints and injuries and we all have skeletons in our closet or what the insurance company will interpret as a skeleton such as: prior accidents; seeing a shrink (that does not play well in front of some jurors unless you see the doc for this accident); having a venereal disease; having had an abortion (without sharing with your spouse); having an alcohol or drug issue etc.
DOCTOR EXPERIENCES WITH MED/LEGAL REPORTS: You want a doctor who is not only a good physician but is good at preparing MED/LEGAL reports. The doctor’s description of your pains is critical. The doctor may tell you to come back in a month and soak in hot bath. A month later you can’t get an appointment for another 3-4 weeks. You wind up with a small medical bill and that suggests to lawyers, judges, adjusters and juries that you were not hurt.
OUT OF TOWN LAWYER: Don’t hire a lawyer from out of town. Though good lawyers, they will not know the local judges and court personnel (clerks and bailiffs) and a lawyer can often get a lot of info from them…if they are friends.
SOCIAL MEDIA (FB): Don’t post that you’re feeling great or running to play tennis or golf. The insurance company will argue if you were well enough to play a sport you could not be hurt that badly. Social media is the biggest advance for insurance companies who no longer have to hire private investigators. They can learn from your daily posts how you are doing and that could be the kiss of death for your case. Take down your social media until the case is over. The insurance company can determine your friends and have investigators talk to them and learn how healthy you are. Your friends may assume you are ok because you do not complain.
IF you have any suggestions for future article contact me 760-565-0533.
TOP LAWYER – Palm Springs Life 2011-2019
AVVO PERFECT 10.0 Peer Rating
"Preeminent" Rating by Martindale Hubbell Legal Directory
"Best Attorneys of America" Rue, (Limited to Top 100 Attorneys/State)
Legal Eagle "Best and Brightest Legal Minds" by Palm Springs Life- June 2016
Client Appreciation Award/ Martindale Hubbell Client Distinction Award- 2015
10 BEST ATTORNEYS for California for Client Satisfaction -DUI Law- Selected 2015.
Weekly Talk Show (ACCIDENTALLY YOURS) and Legal Columnist: LA & CV Paper/ Guest Society Columnist Desert Sun