Lee Law Firm LLC (601) 583-4447
If you've been in an accident, you need immediate advice. Call us at 601-583-4447.
Here are a few things that you need to know:
Talk to a lawyer before talking to any insurance adjusters. This point is absolutely critical, if you have already been talking to an insurance company representative -- even one from your own insurance company -- then stop! I have often seen insurance adjusters try to build a case against my clients by asking misleading questions and confusing the issues. Insurance adjusters do not represent you and are not looking out for your interests.
Do not give a statement to anyone without your lawyer present. If you have already done so, don't worry, but do let your attorney know so that he can get a copy of your statement immediately. Confusing and misleading questions can result in answers that make your injury seem less serious than it really is, or make you seem less credible of a witness. I have personally seen investigators and adjusters try to deploy deceptive cross examination techniques with my own clients; I was able to make the process fair for these clients, but only because I was on the line too, and in control of the process.
Don't sign anything until you have shown it to your lawyer. Almost certainly you were made to sign a lien or "Assignment of Benefits" form before you left the hospital, but they will often give you (or mail you) additional paperwork to fill out and sign. Your answers can greatly affect how much you get charged and how much your own health insurance will pay. In fact, the hospital may refuse to accept your health insurance -- even Medicare and Medicaid -- depending on your answers.
Get lots of photos. If you are in an automobile wreck, take pictures of any damage. This is especially important if there is any hidden damage, such as under your vehicle or inside it somewhere. If you slipped or tripped and fell, go back as soon as possible to the scene and take pictures, even if whatever caused you to fall has been moved or corrected. If you have injuries that can be seen, such as lumps or bruises, or if you have been put in a boot or cast, take plenty of pictures.
Write down the name and numbers of witnesses. Anyone who saw your accident is a witness, but there are others as well. For example, someone you know well or barely know at all may have driven by the accident scene the next day, and saw skid marks that are not in the police report. Someone else may have noticed your obvious pain the day of the accident or a week later. Anyone who can give details about what happened, how it happened, where it happened, when it happened or why it happened is a witness. Also, anyone who can help describe your injuries or symptoms is a witness. It is vital to get all contact information possible for witnesses as soon as you can, because witnesses tend to disappear if you don't.
Keep copies of any paperwork you receive. Medical providers, police, insurance companies, lawyers, the at-fault party, and others may hand you business cards, reports, bills, treatment recommendations, and a plethora of other types of documents. Your lawyer will want to see anything that you have, regardless of how inconsequential it may seem to you.
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