Car crashes injure people. Frequently. Usually, the crash is caused by someone not paying attention, driving too fast, being careless, or even driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Most of us have been involved in a crash at some point, hopefully a minor one with little or no injury. But what about a crash involving injuries? What steps can a consumer take to get through the whole ordeal and receive some semblance of justice? Here are some tips I’ve learned from 30 years of experience handling these types of cases.
— Don’t settle right away. Insurance companies may come to your door with a check a few days after a crash. I remember years ago when an elderly lady came to my office with a strange tale. She said that less than 48 hours after she had been rear-ended at a stop light, a young, nicely dressed man showed up on her doorstep saying he was from the insurance company of the fellow who had run into her. He had a check for $500 if she would sign the papers. She didn’t know what to do, but didn’t sign and, instead, came to see me. She began to experience shooting pains going down her legs. Unfortunately, as often happens, she turned out to be more seriously injured than she originally thought. We ended up settling her case for more than $100,000 instead of the $500 she almost accepted. Don’t settle your case right away; you have two years to settle or file a lawsuit so why rush?
— Don’t give a recorded statement to their insurance company. Unless you have an attorney who advises you to do this (sometimes it’s a benefit), don’t give a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company. It will, nine times out or 10, come back to bite you in the butt!
— Document your troubles. Keep a little note pad and jot down anything bothersome. Couldn’t sleep last night, headache behind the right eyeball; had to cancel my trip to Cabo, my vision is blurred when I try to watch “Seinfeld” re-runs. Whatever it may be, chances are you won’t remember a year from now so write it down.
— Consider hiring a lawyer. Almost without question, an injured person is better off with a lawyer in a personal injury case. Not only will they end up with more money in their pocket even after paying a lawyer a percentage of the settlement, they will not have to deal with the insurance company. That alone is worth its weight in gold. An injured person needs to focus on getting better and making do while injured. That’s enough to worry about. Consider hiring a lawyer; it’s a smart move.
These are some tips that should help you navigate the muddy waters of an auto crash with resultant injuries. Hope you get well soon!
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