At The Scene Of The Accident
If you believe the other driver is at fault, request the police come to the scene to investigate. If you don't do this, the other side may deny liability and now it's a "he said, she said" confusing situation. We have had quite a few clients who have been "tricked" by the other side into not calling the police to investigate because the at fault driver shows his license and insurance, admits fault, and says, "Why wait for the police?" but then when we make a claim the at fault driver sings a different tune such as, "Plaintiff seemed like a nice lady; I wanted to save her getting a ticket for being at fault since she gave me her insurance information." Unfortunately, the police generally will not come to accidents on private property such as parking lots at malls unless there is serious obvious injury or an issue of a drunk driver. (However, if a cab is involved in a private party collision, the taxi-cab authority in Las Vegas will come to investigate.)
Be polite to the other driver, but do not make any admissions of fault. "Are you hurt?" is a proper question to ask the other driver or their passengers, but "Oh, I'm so sorry," is an admission of liability.
After An Accident
The job of the person from the other side's insurance company is to contact you and get information and statements, whether recorded or not, from you. As they say in the defense business, "You get more flies with honey than vinegar." In other words, do not mistake politeness and expressions of concern by the person from the adverse insurance company as an interest in helping you or being fair with you. Statements you make to the insurance company could come back to hurt your case later. The reason for this advice is NOT because we as your lawyers will try to change your testimony. Instead the reason is that because human memory sometimes makes mistakes, the more times you give an account of what happened the greater the chance is that you will contradict yourself and even innocent contradictions, if the case goes to trial, can be used by the insurance company to make you look dishonest.
Unless you are determined to handle your case without a lawyer, it is best to hire a lawyer as soon as possible. A lawyer can help you manage your medical treatment for injuries in a way that is likely to get you a larger net settlement. Medical treatment begun more than a few days after the accident is always suspect. If you have health insurance a lawyer can tell you when it will be advantageous to use your health insurance for treatment versus when it will be to your advantage to treat on a lien basis with care providers outside of your insurance coverage. If you don't have health insurance a lawyer can help you get treatment. Repeated trips to the emergency room as a last resort provider of care is neither convenient nor good for your case.
If your car has been made undriveable in the accident, your lawyer should be able to speed up getting you into a rental car at the expense of the at fault driver's insurance.
If you have health insurance and need an ambulance ride or need to go the emergency room, if you can, insist that your health insurance is billed. There is a recent tendency of some of these providers to bill auto insurance. This is undesirable for at least four reasons:
- If you have med pay coverage, your own insurance company will pay out the med pay on a first come, first served basis, without instructions from your attorney. Typically, med pay either doesn't negotiate a discount or can't negotiate as good a discount as your health insurance with respect to all emergency room and related bills.
- Also, if you have med pay, your lawyer can ask that no payments be made until he or she directs and the lawyer will be able to use the med pay in lien reductions negotiations at settlement time.
- Usually ambulance bills are paid in full no matter what insurance you have or don't have. But, if you have health insurance and they pay the ambulance bill in full and you have a lawyer representing you, the lawyer can usually get the health insurance company to reduce the lien it will have on your settlement.
- If you have health insurance but not med pay, or you have just a little bit of med pay, the bills to auto insurance bounce and then you start getting hassled when your health insurance company should have paid the bill minus the deductible.
You should assume that anything you post on Facebook or other social media WILL become known to the adverse insurance company. Do not post items on social media that could hurt your case by raising suspicions about the seriousness of your injury. Learn more about your case and social media.
- What To Do Immediately After An Injury Two actions to take immediately after an injury from a motor vehicle accident or slip & fall etc.
- Your Claim & Social Media What you and/or others post on social media may impact your case.
- When Do I Need To Contact An Attorney Been injured in an accident? Find out when you should call an attorney.