Do’s and Don’ts for Injury Clients
Do notify your insurance company of any accident/injury. Most insurance policies have notice provisions that require prompt notice.Do call a lawyer to get advice. Make sure you talk to a lawyer who has handled cases like the one you have. Check the lawyer’s web site and former client testimonials. Remember you don’t have to sign a contract with a lawyer to get free phone advice.
Do request an accident report from the police and get the names and addresses of any witnesses.
Do ask authorities and insurance companies to preserve evidence until you or your lawyer can inspect and take photographs.
Do get treatment for your injuries and follow your doctor’s instructions.
Do realize that insurance companies are immediately investigating your claim and using all of their resources to protect their interests immediately after an accident/injury.
Do realize the insurance companies have an incentive to pay you as little as possible and they have no obligation to honestly explain to you all benefits to which you may be entitled.
Do realize that insurance companies sometimes have investigators attempt to film you in public places to gather evidence against you.
Do realize that you can file an administrative complaint against an insurance company with most state insurance commissioners if you believe you are being treated unfairly. There is no cost involved and you do not need a lawyer.
Do ask the insurance company why they have lawyers on retainer to help them if they attempt to discourage you from talking to a lawyer.
Do realize that getting free phone advice from a lawyer immediately following an accident is the smartest decision you can make.
Don’t give a recorded statement to an insurance company without having a lawyer present.Don’t sign authorizations or checks sent to you by insurance companies without having a lawyer review them with you.
Don’t talk about the legal aspects of your case with anyone other than your lawyer.
Don’t listen to insurance adjusters who try to discourage you from hiring a lawyer.
Don’t be shy about calling a lawyer immediately. Keep in mind that insurance companies sometimes send lawyers and adjusters out to hospitals to try to settle with injured people before they can talk to a lawyer of their own.
Don’t settle a case with an insurance company without fully understanding subrogation liens that may apply (money you may owe back to your insurance company from any settlement). Subrogation liens could leave you with nothing or, worse, leave you still owing money after a settlement.
Don’t delay in taking action. Delays can cause irreparable harm to your claim because evidence can be disposed of or lost and witnesses can disappear.
Don’t talk to any person calling you on the telephone claiming to be a lawyer who wants to help you. First, it is a violation of the Rule of Professional Conduct for lawyers to directly contact victims by phone or in person, unless that lawyer knew the person beforehand. Second, you have no way of knowing that the person you are talking to will not disclose the substance of your communications to others.
Don’t ever, ever, ever give up!