5 MISTAKES TO AVOID AFTER AN ACCIDENT
1) MAKE SURE YOU TAKE THE RIGHT PHOTOS.
When possible try to get photographs at the scene of the accident. Take the photo from several angles and distances. Often people will just get close-ups which don’t capture key evidence. For example, when there is a defect on a sidewalk or street get photos that will show the house or building in the background so there is a frame of reference. Otherwise, the defect will look like it could be anywhere. In a supermarket it is important to determine where how a something you fall on got on the floor. By photographing the entire isle, you may pick up critical evidence such as were mats appropriately placed or evidence of a leak. You may capture restocking boxes, which would indicate an employee was working near the dangerous condition. This is important because you must show that the store knew or should have known about the condition.
If you are in a car accident try to get photos of the accident scene from the direction both vehicles were traveling. Also get photos of the other driver’s license plate, insurance card, and registration as well as the damage to both cars. If there is any debris or skid marks on the road be sure to capture that. If there are obstructions to either drivers view such as bushes or improperly parked car take these photos too. This will all help to establish liability and make sure we can determine all possible defendants.
2) ALWAYS REPORT THE ACCIDENT.
Some times a person has an accident and thinks they can shrug it off only to realize they are in serious pain the next day. If you are in a retail store make sure you tell the manager or person in charge. They should get your information and make a report, but also get the name of the person making the report. If they refuse to make a report it is even more important to get their name and make note of their physical appearance so you can identify the person latter.
If there is no report the insurance company will be more skeptical of your claim, but if you can identify the employee you report it to then the store’s conduct looks suspicious. Further, most stores these days have video surveillance, but will only save it if they are aware of an incident. If there is no proof that it was reported then they can claim the video was automatically erased.
3) YOUR ATTORNEY SHOULD ALWAYS BE LICENSED IN YOUR STATE.
You may be surprised that some lawyers advertise a lot in your area, but are not legally allowed to practice in your state. For example, John Morgan of Morgan & Morgan lives in Florida and is not licensed in the state of Pennsylvania. Therefore, he must turn your case over another lawyer. You can search here to see if your lawyer is licensed in PA.
You might think you are hiring a particular lawyer to help you, but in actuality he or she has nothing to do with the handling of your claim. Why would you hire a lawyer who misleads into thinking he will handle your case?
All the attorneys at Rosenbaum & Associates are licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey or both. They also live in Pennsylvania or New Jersey. Plus, Jeff Rosenbaum will be personally involved in your claim.
4) GET IMMEDIATE MEDICAL ATTENTION.
If your hurt after an accident you should try to get medical attention as soon as possible. This serves 2 purposes: first, you want to make sure there is nothing seriously wrong from a medical standpoint; second, if you don’t see a doctor until several days after the accident the insurance company will use this against you. The longer you wait to seek medical attention the more the defendant will argue that your injuries could not have been that serious. Further, if the accident is unwitnessed or unreported this will often be the first documentation of the accident, and will add credibility to your claim.
5) DON’T GIVE STATEMENTS TO THE DEFENDANT’S INSURANCE ADJUSTER.
Often the defendant’s risk management person or claims adjuster will call to get your version of the accident. Usually they will ask for a written or recorded statement. They may say they are required to do an investigation or they can assist you better if you give them all the details. But you are not required to give a statement. Typically, this will only be used to attack any claim you may bring. For example, they may ask how you are feeling and if you don’t list every body part that was hurt their lawyer may try cross examine you on this fact at a deposition or hearing. All communication with the insurance company should go through your attorney’s office. If you don’t have a lawyer yet, you should consult one before giving any statement.