1. Never lie about anything related to your case.
Don’t lie to your lawyer, doctor, or either side’s insurance adjuster regarding your injuries or any specifics of the accident.
2. Don’t accept a check or sign a release from an insurance company.
Don’t accept a check or sign a release from an insurance company unless you know exactly what it covers. If you have an attorney, make sure that your attorney is aware of every piece of mail, email, or phone call that comes from the insurance company.
Do not think for a second that they won’t try to trick you into damaging your case behind your attorney’s back. Often insurance companies will try to get you to release “any and all claims” and lead you to believe that you are only settling the property damage portion of your case.
Before you sign anything, check with an attorney. If you have an attorney, don’t sign anything that he is not aware of.
3. Don’t attempt to hide or cover up past injuries.
Don’t attempt to hide or cover up past injuries or accidents from your lawyer. It is very likely that the insurance company will find out about the injury, due to the fact that most car accident information is shared by all insurance companies in a central database.
If your attorney is aware of such an accident from the beginning, he can foresee any complications that may arise and know well enough ahead of time how to deal with the issue.
If you don’t tell him and he gets caught off guard, your case may be doomed.
4. Maintain a day by day “pain diary.”
Maintain a day by day “pain diary” that details how you feel, doctors visits and therapy or chiropractic appointments, any medications taken and their effect on your, and your inability to work or perform normal activities the way you performed them before the accident.
It doesn’t have to be Shakespeare, just a few short sentences each day to chronicle your suffering. Without such a document, your memory of the pain may be called into question.
With such a document, it becomes quite credible.
5. Don’t try to be the “tough guy.”
Don’t try to be a “tough guy.” If you are feeling any type of pain, stiffness, swelling, etc. after an accident that is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong.
I cannot tell you how many times I have been hired to represent someone who thought they were just “a little sore” after an accident only to discover that they need major surgery down the line.
See a doctor immediately after your accident.
6. The insurance companies see all.
The insurance companies see all. Video and photo cameras are incredibly small these days. You can be photographed or video taped anywhere at any time.
If you are injured enough to pursue an injury claim you cannot expect to do normal activities. Often, an accident victim will be genuinely injured, but they will slip up for a moment and “play through the pain” by doing something a healthy person would do.
They may be in excruciating pain while doing so, and their injuries may be completely justified, but on camera it will look like they are faking it. Such damning footage will devastate your case.
7. Remember, never has an insurance company made it a policy to play fair.
Remember, never has an insurance company made it a policy to play fair, pay you quickly, or to pay you the maximum recovery. They just don’t work that way, and one of the tactics they use in order to force you into accepting less than you should is by holding out on you.
They want to keep that money in the bank earning interest or liquid for investment purposes.
Did you know that insurance companies generally profit more money per year on invested insurance premiums – in real estate and so forth – than on new premium dollars received?
8. Don’t think of everything as all or nothing.
Don’t think of everything as 100% or 0%, all or nothing. This goes right back to rule number one, don’t lie. People often feel the need to be 100% justified in their decisions.
The law is not that black and white and there are varying degrees of every element in a car accident case from liability, to impairment. If you are partially to blame in an accident that does not mean that your case is a lost cause.
There have been many instances where someone with good intentions exaggerates about some aspect of their case in order to really drive their point, but in doing so they destroy their credibility and the whole case becomes compromised.
9. Consider all your damages.
Consider all of your damages. Particularly if you have not already hired an attorney, the other driver’s insurance company may offer you some cash for your pain and suffering after your accident, but are they compensating you for all of your damages?
Your damages may include common elements such as lost wages or medical expenses, or less obvious damages such as compensation for any scarring or disfigurement, however slight it may be.
An insurance company will not voluntarily pay you for all of your damages, especially if you do not have an attorney to put the entirety of your damages into perspective.
A good attorney will give you all the car accident information you will need and be able to help you properly quantify all of your damages so that you get the maximum recovery.