Helpful Hints From a Personal Injury Attorney
Racine Olson in Pocatello, Idaho has been representing injured people for more than seventy years. During that time, we have gained a lot of experience and seen a lot of cases. Times have changed for injured people as well as attorneys. Injured people as well as attorneys must adapt in order to be effective. I have listed some helpful hints below.
1. Do not believe everything you hear. Too many clients have come into my office and explained to me that the insurance company has asserted this or that position and so there is no way to proceed. Don’t believe everything you hear. The insurance company wants to limit its own expenses and costs and individual adjusters want to make sure they get a pat on the back from their boss for settling your case at a below value level. Instead of relying on the insurance company, conduct your own investigation. Review the police report and witness reports, if necessary expert witnesses can be hired to determine fault. There are a lot of ways to build your own case without listening to the insurance company. Consult an attorney to talk about value; not the insurance company.
2. Objectively consider your cases value. A lot of experience goes into this step. A person cannot merely punch a few keys on the computer and look at the internet to determine what the value of your case is. There are many factors that come into this. The nature of the injuries, the damage to the vehicle, if it is a motor vehicle accident, the age of the victim, the age of the tortfeasor, the circumstances of the accident, and the effects that the injury will have on the injured person. These are just a few of the factors to consider when valuing a case. Talk to an attorney. Even if it is not someone here at Racine Olson, talk to an attorney somewhere who has experience in these matters. Your case really depends on it.
3. Preserve your evidence. If you or someone you love is able to take photographs at the scene of the accident, these really must be preserved. In addition, a sort of photo journal which maps out the recovery can be used to explain the difficulties a person has in recovering from an accident. These are all important things that you can do. In addition, you can request the police report which often contains video footage, photographs, eyewitness statements, and generally a statement of fault by the police officer.
4.Write it down. If you’re like me, journaling is not really your thing. However, after you are recovered sufficiently, you should write down every detail that you remember about the accident. This should include events that occurred right before the accident, during the accident, and immediately thereafter. This reminds me of that old statement that, “A dull pencil is better than the sharpest mind.” In other words, your case could take two to four years to resolve and writing these things down is important to preserve your memory.
5. Think about your own insurance policies. Many times, your own insurance company provides coverage for an accident even though someone else is involved. The classic example of this is under insured motorist coverage. Bring your policy to an attorney at Racine Olson and we can help explain this to you. If you don’t bring it to us, make sure that you take it to another personal injury attorney so that it can be examined, and you can be fully compensated.
6. Listen to your doctor. Often times we are not very good patients. Doctors tell us the things that we need to do in order to get better, but we are active and choose not to do so. Insurance companies and their attorneys love to label people as “non-compliant patients.” Do what your doctor tells you to do. This will help you get better and will make you look better in front of a jury.
7. Stay away from social media. Defense attorneys and insurance companies are routinely asking for all of an injured person’s social media including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and all the others. Posting things on these social media outlets, such as pictures, allows the insurance company and/or defense attorney to paint you as not really injured. For instance, if there is a photograph of you at the beach, even if you try to explain that you did not do anything, there will be a myriad of questions like; How did you get there? Who were you with? Did you play volleyball while you were there? It is just one more way to put a picture in front of the jury that makes you look like you were not really injured. This can be eliminated by slowing down or avoiding social media.
8. Do not negotiate with the insurance company. In twenty years of practice I cannot recall seeing a client obtain a more favorable settlement on their own without an attorney. Whether or not you retain attorneys at Racine Olson, you should at least talk to an attorney somewhere. You will do better and collect more by going through an attorney. When you are on your own, insurance companies already have an attorney. They know that you do not, and you have very little leverage because they know that you are not going to go to trial on your own. During that time, you are vulnerable. Get an attorney.
I hope these hints are helpful. Remember, you can always call us here at Racine Olson even if all you want to do is ask a question. We will be happy to help.