If, God forbid, you are involved in a car accident, you will, in a matter of hours, receive a phone call from an insurance claims agent. The most asked question is, “what should I say to this insurance representative?” The answer is simple and direct–less than nothing.
Please understand that the adjuster is not your friend. He or she has one goal, to minimize their insurance company’s exposure. These people literally attend seminars to learn how to trick and deceive the injured victim into making admissions against their own interest. In other words, they get you to shoot yourself in your foot.
If you or a loved one are involved in an accident, a number of things need to happen. First of all, become your own best investigator/detective. Gather as much information as you possibly can at the scene of the accident.
I can’t tell you how many times in my 33 year career of representing the injured victim in our home town, did I encounter a situation where in my client failed to get the name and phone number of an eye witness.
I realize that an automobile accident is a terrifying and traumatizing event, but you must be smart, think clearly, and become your own best advocate.
Realize that although the circumstances of the accident may clearly indicate that you were not at fault and the wrongdoer’s insurance company should pay for all of your damages: property damages, lost wages, medical bills; that may not be the case.
The insurance company has one singular goal, and that is to pay out either nothing or as little as possible, even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
Use your cell phone to take photographs, ask for documentation of the driver’s license and insurance coverage, and always call the police. It will be in your distinct advantage to have an independent authority, such as a police officer, on the scene to help document the facts.
But a word to the wise, do not rely entirely on the work of the police. I’m sorry to say that oftentimes, police officers do not do a thorough investigation, unless the officer is a member of the Accident Investigation Unit. The report they file, nine times out of ten, is delinquent.
The second important factor to keep in mind if you are involved in an accident is if you are hurt, even in the slightest degree, it is important to seek out medical attention, especially if it is at the emergency room.
Many times if a person is involved in an accident, their adrenaline runs high and it masks symptoms of pain. It is quite common that it may take up to 24 hours for you to feel the full effects of the accident. It is critical for you to document your condition with a medical professional.
All too often, people who are in serious pain and discomfort will forgo going to an emergency room because they are too busy. Nothing is more important than your health.
The third thing to do if you are involved in an accident is to call me. I will meet with you at a time and place that is most convenient. I will make sure that your interests are protected and will assist you in every phase of your claim.
Please call me at 1-800-55-MISNY and “I’ll Make Them Pay!®”
Be sure to watch “Getting Legal” every Friday morning at 7:55 AM on CBS 19 Action News, Cleveland.