Why do I Need a Free Initial Consultation?
Posted on Sunday, July 15th, 2012 at 4:01 pm
Most injury lawyers including me provide Free, No-Obligation, Initial Consultations to help you decide if you need to hire an attorney. Take advantage of this, it could save you a lot of trouble and money.
I cannot tell you how many folks have come into my office after they have tried to handle a claim on their own only to have us point out the crucial mistakes that were made along the way. These mistakes often give the insurance company just enough of an “arguable reason” to deny a claim. Many mistakes car wreck victims make can create bogus defenses for an at-fault driver and help them escape responsibility. Often, these mistakes can be avoided if the victim simply speaks to an attorney before talking with an insurance adjuster or investigator.
Did you know that mistakes made in a recorded statement could actually get you sued?
Why Talk to an Attorney
After a car wreck or other type of accident, many things occur that the average person is not accustomed to dealing with and you must know:
There are potentially costly pitfalls at all stages of an injury claim!
Unfortunately, crucial mistakes can be made that can cost the person money and let the at-fault driver off the hook. Or worse, making an ambiguous statement could suggest there is uncertainty about whose fault the accident really was to give the real at-fault driver a shot at making a claim against you. Some of the things that will occur after an accident that might surprise you are the following:
- Insurance adjusters will want recorded statements to use against you;
- Hospitals and Emergency medical providers will refuse to bill health insurance
- Your health insurance company may require special documents to protect their interests;
- Your own doctor may refuse to treat you just because you have been in a car wreck;
- Vital Evidence could disappear quickly when the damaged car is sold or repaired;
- Professional insurance adjusters will take advantage of your lack of experience.
Recorded Statement Mistakes
Anything you say in a recorded statement that is helpful to the other side will be used against you! Examples of common statements that insurance adjusters will use against accident victims along with insurance company responses are as follows:
- “I’m better than I was a few days ago” –“You were getting better when we talked last, did something else happen?”
- “I’m ok, I don’t need an ambulance.” —“You were not hurt at the scene, did something else happen later?”
- “I will go to the doctor tomorrow if I need to.”—- “But you said you didn’t need to go to the doctor the day of the accident.”
- “I think I am going to be alright.”— “When we talked you said you were going to be alright, what happened to you after that?”
- “I think it was about 20 feet.” (75 feet in reality) —“But you said 20 feet in your statement, now you say 75ft, were you lying then or now”
- “It was 7:50 and I start work at 8:00”—“Sounds like you were running a little late for work.” (my office is only 3 minutes from my driveway).
It would be impossible to list all the ways a person’s unclear or ambiguous statements can be exploited by an adjuster or insurance defense lawyer. A lot of times the terminology people use in their everyday conversation can have multiple meanings. Other times, people just want to give the answer the adjuster wants to get the adjuster quit asking questions because the victim is under stress.
The worst examples of recorded statement abuse are where the insurance adjuster repeatedly asks the same question of someone who is seriously injured and still in pain or sedated. A lot of times the car wreck victim will relent and say something like, “Well, I guess I might have been . . . .” (speeding, not using a turn signal, no break lights, no head lights, no windshield wipers etc) just to get the adjuster off the phone.
Right then, the case goes from being a slam dunk against the at fault driver (or your own uninsured motorist carrier) to a case where the insurance defense lawyer will do everything they can to try to exploit this statement and muddy the water. This is often because the adjuster badgered the person into “maybe” agreeing that something “might” have been one way when it was really another just to get the adjuster off the phone.
Your lawyer will not allow you to be badgered into making a statement that is untrue and against your interests just to make an adjuster go away!
Remember, it is the insurance adjuster’s job to save the insurance company money and they are never on your side no matter what the commercials say.
20 feet vs. 75 feet
I see this all the time, people getting confused about how far away something is in feet, yards, miles and tenths of miles. Unless you are a surveyor or building contractor, you don’t likely know your distances as well as you think you do. On top of that, a lot of folks don’t like to say “I don’t know” and tend to want to please their questioner. Trying to please the questioner in a car wreck case just so you can sound like you know what you are talking about can be a costly mistake for you and your family. This is not the time to be a “know it all.”
An example of this is when someone says something like, “Oh, I guess it was about a 100 yards away?” I always follow this up with, “Do you realize that 100 yards is an entire football field?” With folks who are not familiar with football, the answer is always the same, “oh no, not that far.” or “oh no, much farther than that.” At that point we start exploring examples that the person is familiar with like car lengths or the distance from one end of the grocery store aisle to the next so we can get an accurate estimate of the distance.
We all use different language to describe things and people rarely speak in exact terms in everyday life. In a car wreck case, you have to be as accurate as possible. This means you must examine your normal terminology to make sure you are not speaking in ambiguous terms that allow adjusters or insurance defense lawyers make you look like a liar or someone who does not know what they are talking about.
I will add more to this post as time permits but these are just a few reasons why an accident victim will want to take advantage of the Free Initial Consultations lawyers provide.
If you have been in an accident you can contact my office at (662) 533-9111 for a Free Initial Consultation. We charge no fee unless we win your case or collect for you.