Accident Dos and Don'ts
Host 1: Welcome back to INSight. We are joined now by Dave Farnbaugh and we’re going to talk about a really important topic, something that people don’t necessarily think of until they’re in a situation. What do you do after you’ve been involved in an accident? It’s just one of those unfortunate things.
Host 2: It’s something that we don’t want to happen, but unfortunately it does probably happen to everyone one at some point in their life. In their life, their driving down the road, and I’m in the car, let’s say someone hits me even and I’m not responsible for it at all. Let’s say even it’s a minor accident, do I need to get on the phone right then? I mean obviously I call the police first, then do I need to get on the phone and call the Sweeney Law Firm right then? What do I do?
Dave: Well, the issue of whether you should call an attorney right away depends on the severity of the injuries that are involved. If it’s a minor crash then probably calling an attorney’s not the best idea but if you’ve been injured in an accident, you’ve been taken to the hospital, you’ve been treated at the emergency room, you have some on going symptoms and problems after the accident. It probably makes sense before you start talking to the insurance company to find out a little bit about what your rights are, about what’s going to happen, and those sorts of things, so it depends a lot on the severities of the injuries in the crash.
Host 1: We live in an age where everyone has a cell phone that they can take pictures with. Do you recommend that if you’ve been in an accident, a car accident for example, that you or your family takes pictures right away? At the scene or later on?
Dave: I think that the most important issue as it pertains to photographs is photographing the injuries themselves. Most of the time after a car crash, the insurance companies are going to be out taking a lot of photographs of the damage of the cars, but what comes and goes are the injuries from the crash itself. Often times people have bruises, seat belt bruises, or they’ll have a collection of blood, contusion, or hurt some part of their body that is going to be here today; gone in a few days. If you don’t take photographs of those injuries then that critical evidence can be lost.
Host 2: I know the couple of times that I’ve been in accidents, they’ve all been minor thank heavens, but they’ve not been my fault. They’ve been the other drivers fault. So the others drivers insurance company has called me and questioned me. Is it ok for me to talk to them?
Dave: Well, that’s probably the big issues that a person has to decide from the get go about how they’re going to approach the insurance company contacting them. What people have to understand is that insurance companies are in business not only to pay claims but to minimize the amount of money that they pay out in claims. So insurance adjusters receive training on how to talk to people on the phone, get you to say things that maybe aren’t in your best interest. They always ask you, “Well how are you doing?” Most people don’t like to be on the phone and cry and whine about their own injuries, so a lot of people say, “Well, I guess I’m doing ok” or “I’m feeling better.” That’s a relative term. You might be feeling really bad, but compared to how you felt a day after the accident, you are doing better. There are certain things that people say to an insurance adjuster over the phone that causes harm to their legal case. We think it’s better if you are involved in any type of a serious accident where you receive treatment at the emergency room or you have some on going symptoms, to consult an attorney before hand to decide whether you should give a statement to an insurance company, what you should say, and also decide whether you may need an attorney to represent you in that case. It’s in your own best interest to have an attorney through this process. The insurance companies have done studies on the amount of compensation that a person receives if they don’t have an attorney or the amount of compensation that a person receives if they have an attorney. Insurance companies own research shows that if a person has an attorney they’re apt to receive twice as much compensation, even after attorneys fees are paid compared to their counter parts who don’t hire an attorney. That’s one of the critical issues, if you are entitled to compensation through medical expenses, lost earnings, and pain and suffering. You have to decide do I want to go at this alone, or do I want to get competent legal representation to help me though the process and hopefully maximize the amount of my recovery.
Host 2: Is there some check list or something that the Sweeney Law Firm would have that can kind of tell us what we should do or give us a guide line of how we would go about it if we were in that situation?
Dave: Well, we do. What we provide to consumers is information about some of the steps that they should take immediately after an accident. This pertains to how you should deal with the insurance company. Also, steps that you should take, including some common sense things, don’t give a statement over the phone unless you’re certain about what your legal rights are. Photograph your injuries. Just a variety of helpful tips and we put it in the form of a brochure or free report that we give people so if you go to our website or you call our law firm, we’ll send you this free report which gives people a lot of valuable information on what to do immediately after an accident.
Host 1: That’s so great because a lot of times after an accident it shakes you up. And even though things might seem like common sense, you know as we sit here and talk; after you’ve had that traumatic experience – you don’t have your wits about you.
Host 2: You don’t and you’re just overwhelmed by the whole situation. If you have been involved in an accident or feel like you need legal advice, you can give the Sweeney Law Firm a call today or visit their website.