Everyone has an opinion. Nothing wrong with that, and as matter of fact, something I encourage among everyone. The reader should consider what is being suggested and then consider other options or points of view.
As applied to personal injury claims, there seem to be all types of suggestions on what to do and what mistakes to avoid. All opinions offered as suggestions or tips, however, should be scrutinized before relying on them. This includes any suggestions or random thoughts provided here.
Some Personal Injury Claim Tips Are Not Helpful
The reason I suggest thoughtfully considering any tip—whether provided by an experienced lawyer or some self-styled guru—is because some recommendations may not help your circumstances or cause.
For example, there are some lawyers who suggest that immediately after an accident causing injury—whether auto accident, slip and fall, construction mishap, or other event caused by negligence—suggest the injury victim start the claims process.
- Call a lawyer from the scene;
- Take photographs at the scene;
- Video record the accident scene;
- Interview witnesses.
The desire is to document what happened and identify witnesses who may help explain the incident. This is a noble goal.
At first blush, some of these suggestions sound reasonable—with the exception of contacting an injury attorney from any accident scene which I believe is a horrible idea—and have a goal in mind of preserving and strengthening a possible injury claim. There are some unintended consequences, however, which should be considered as they can negatively impact the claim.
If you have been seriously injured in a car wreck or fall down, then how do you start identifying witnesses and obtaining their information? How do you start taking photos? You may take these steps—you are not prohibited from doing so—but how does that look?
The perception this type of post-accident activity can generate may affect your credibility. The circumstances are critical here. Someone with a broken arm or leg may be conscious and be able to take photos. This person may be able to talk to witnesses who approach him or her asking to help. Perhaps exchanging cell phone numbers can be quickly done so as to identify the witnesses.
Roaming around the crash scene or store where the fall accident occurred—calling an injury lawyer, taking photos, taking video, or questioning witnesses and taking notes—may document the incident, but destroy the viability of the injury claim itself.
Common Sense and Reasonable Judgment are Critical
After any severe injury, the first priority is health. In my experience, genuinely hurt people and their families are focused squarely on their injuries and getting better before they start thinking about accountability.
How the accident occurred, what the at fault driver or company did wrong, and who will pay your bills are likely expected by your peers—jurors—to be part of the post-accident investigation after your health is being addressed at hospital.
Perception—right or wrong—often plays a large part in valid personal injury claims. Insurance companies are looking for reasons to deny or fight a legitimate accident injury claim. Insurance adjusters want to minimize the amount of money they pay you. Do not give insurance carriers any grounds to question your genuine injuries and value. Knowing that you conducted a comprehensive investigation at the scene of your accident may provide an insurance corporation with the narrative—the misconception—they need to fight the true value of your claim.
The bottom line is that everyone should be careful about what injury lawyer tips, suggestions, and recommendations they heed. Think about that content critically and try to place it in context of the circumstances. In my opinion, the better road to follow is to be yourself and practice common sense. Do what what you believe is right under the circumstances.
Lawyer Tips on Accidents May Miss the Mark
Every accident presents different circumstances. Auto accidents are governed by different facts and law from premises liability claims from other negligence claims. Each of these situations has different needs in terms of re-constructing what happened and the reasons for the occurrence. Some facts are simple to piece together while many others are more intricate and complex.
Directing someone on how to react after a crash or fall is not appropriate. There is no one-size-fits-all response from the victim which is always correct or always incorrect. Accidents are too fluid, victims are really hurt, and reality prevents any tip or suggestion from applying across-the-board.
Staying calm, cool, and collected and using your best judgment to keep yourself and family safe are rules of thumb. As a tragedy unfolds, keeping it together is easier said than done. That is reality.
Perhaps there is a single thing—just one—anyone can do in any accident injury scenario. No memorization is needed. No tricks or tactics.
Instead, just be yourself. This will happen naturally, and takes no coaching. Genuineness requires no assistance. How you react to the event will depend on, and vary by, the incident. As your lawyer, I will deal with those faultless and genuine circumstances.