The age-old adage “hindsight is 20/20” tends to hold true in life as well as in personal injury cases. Oftentimes clients tell me they wish they would have known the significance of taking certain action after being the victim of a car crash. It is important to realize that after you are involved in a car crash, the insurance company commences an investigation immediately. I constantly encounter situations where a person is the victim of a car crash in the morning and a mere hour later is receiving numerous phone calls from the insurance company requesting a recorded statement. Navigating conversations with the at-fault party’s insurance company and even your own insurance company can be complicated and overwhelming. That is why speaking with an attorney as soon as possible after suffering any type of personal injury is imperative. There are also several critical pieces of information that you should remember when pursuing your claim to maximize your recovery.
PHOTOS OF YOUR VEHICLE & YOUR INJURIES
Pictures really are worth a thousand words. Few things can illustrate the significance of a crash or of the injuries you’ve suffered like a good photograph. Don’t depend on police officers, your insurance company, or anyone else to take photographs for you. With technology today, the camera on your cell phone can ensure that those images are captured immediately following the incident. In addition, you should take photos of your vehicle from different angles in order to best demonstrate the extent of the damage. Documenting your physical injuries immediately after the incident is also important. Bruises, abrasions and other evidence of physical injuries may fade over time and be relatively non-existent by the time your case goes to trial. Photographs documenting the severity of your injuries and the healing process you underwent in a timeline can be very powerful evidence down the road in your case.
DOCUMENTATION & RECORD KEEPING
Keeping important documents is crucial, especially if you find yourself in a position where you do not hire an attorney immediately following an accident. Maintain a record of people you spoke with or who you may have given a recorded statement to and the names of any witnesses to the crash. Oftentimes following a collision things move so quickly that a client may give a recorded statement regarding the details of the crash without giving much consideration to how that statement might affect his or her case in the future. Having an attorney immediately following an accident to help navigate you through these initial phases of a case will put your mind at ease.
OPEN COMMUNICATION & CANDOR
Of course, the attorney-client relationship is based on maintaining open lines of communication. That means, it’s important to be upfront and honest with your attorney about your case, your injuries and any prior history you may have. Keeping information from your attorney that you feel might be harmful to your case is never a good idea. For starters, whatever information you shield from your attorney will undoubtedly be discovered by the insurance company and/or defense attorney. Moreover, intentionally distorting your past thwarts your attorneys ability to properly pursue you case. Taking the time to sit down with your attorney and thoughtfully answer questions about prior accidents, medical conditions or past injuries you sustained will allow your attorney to formulate the best strategy for maximizing your recovery.
As the client, you have the ability to positively influence the ultimate outcome of your case. This can be done simply by being prompt to meetings and doctor’s appointments. Insurance companies will attempt to “poke holes” at your case in any way possible. Things like missing a doctor’s appointment and having a gap in medical treatment allows the defense to easily argue against compensating you for your injuries. Being forthcoming with your attorney and asking questions about the process when you need guidance will also help in successfully litigating your case. At Dolman Law Group, we handle a variety of personal injury cases and have both the experience and resources to pursue your claim. For more information call 727-451-6900.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765