After an accident, if you don’t call an attorney right away, something bad will happen to your personal injury claim! Have you had that impression from lawyer ads on TV. Well, that is largely nonsense. The only thing you should be in a hurry to do after a collision is to get the medical care you need for your injuries and cooperate with the police doing the accident report. Nearly everything else can be, or must be, done later. Here are some examples of why rushing is not usually useful, and may even hurt your claim:
- You can call the insurance company and open a claim, but you can do that when you are ready (Statutes of Limitations are measured in months and years, not hours or days).
- When you do open that claim, the only thing that you will probably be doing immediately involves your damaged car, not your injuries.
- Trying to reach a quick injury claim settlement may mean you settled before even knowing what it took to get you well—if you did get better!
- The police report often has valuable information, and it won’t usually be ready for several days.
- The injury claim includes compensation for all the harms and losses you experienced because of your injuries. It could take months or years to see what those were and properly prove them.
- No one can include all you medical bills in the claim until you have incurred those bills—in the course of your treatment.
- What exactly is a lawyer going to do if you call her immediately? I actually don’t know. My most valuable work for clients generally comes in putting together proof of harms and losses that don’t exist right after the collision.
There is one tricky exception to all this: the advice not to give any statements to anyone. From an attorney’s standpoint, that is sound advice. If you don’t say anything, you can’t say something that you have do work around later, right? But, what would that be? Are you going to tell the opposing insurance adjuster that the accident was your fault when it wasn’t? Are you going to tell the adjuster that you were not hurt when you are? Now, cases can take unexpected twists, but my experience has been that the thing that really hurts a claim is telling a lie. So, if you do talk to the insurance company or give a statement, tell the truth. Always a good idea, right?
Of course, this general information may not be right for your specific claim and is not legal advice. I’d be happy to talk to you, so give me a call at Davis Miles McGuire Gardner, 480-733-6800, or reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also get my book, Arizona Auto Injury Claims at www.autoinjurybook.com.