Car Accident Cases; Who Should You Talk To? . . . And When?
There is so much conflicting information regarding car accident cases. There are firms that advertise constantly, but then they have so much advertising expenses that they cannot give the personal service to clients that they need. Those firms try to tell you your rights and make outrageous promises in thirty seconds. Then there are firms that have been taking care of their clients for decades and guide them through the process and keep them fully informed. Our philosophy is simple. We don't want anyone to have an accident. Talk about bad karma! But, if an accident does take place, then you need to know what to do.
Knowing who to talk to and when; giving a statement; can make quite a difference in the ultimate outcome of your case. First of all, call the police. Don't just exchange information with the other driver. Call the police and be sure to talk to the officer in a rational manner and do not get obnoxious or argumentative. Tell the officer what happened. Be sure to give the officer the names and information of anyone who was in your vehicle. Try to listen to any discussions the other driver (or passengers) have with the police, but if you are told to wait by your car, then do that. If the other driver apologizes or otherwise admits fault, be sure to write it down and remember it!
Go to the nearest hospital emergency room (ER) if you are seriously injured and be sure to tell everyone there ALL of your symptoms/injuries. At that stage, you do not know which ones are serious so it is best to document everything. If you are injured (stiff, sore, in pain, limited in range of motion, etc.) then go to your own orthopedist or chiropractor. Again, advise them of all of your symptoms and injuries. Call your lawyer! Make sure you have legal protection. Remember, attorneys that have decades of experience in personal injury cases can help you maximize your physical recovery and your financial recovery.
You need to also call your own insurance company to alert them to the accident. Give them just general information. Try not to give them a formal recorded statement or something called an EUO (Examination Under Oath) without first having retained a lawyer. Get a lawyer first.
Now, you may get calls from the adjuster for the other driver's insurance company. You may get letters that push you to call them. They can be very pushy! Let your lawyer handle communications with the defendant's insurance company and guide you through the process. Remember, the adjuster works for a company that keeps what money they don't have to pay out on claims. They might be very polite, very friendly, but there job is to find some excuse to either not pay you on your claim or minimize your claim. That is their job! Get experienced legal counsel very early in the case to protect you from the beginning and avoid such pitfalls as giving too much information (or the wrong information) to an adjuster.