I’ve lived in Santa Clarita since 1997. At that point, I had worked for a major insurance company for nearly 6 years. My job was to be a defense lawyer, to protect those insured with the insurance company. After doing that for many years, I started to see what mistakes plaintiffs were making in their personal injury cases. Therefore, not that I represent plaintiffs injured in auto accidents and other injury cases, I provide you with this list of do’s and don’ts after a car accident.
1. Don’t wait too long before getting medical treatment (anything over one week is probably too long).
2. If you had a serious accident and the emergency personnel offer you an ambulance ride, take it!
3. Try to get the names of as many witnesses to the accident as you can.
4. Take pictures of ALL the vehicles involved in the accident from several different angles. Your pictures have to tell a story and must illustrate the extent of the damage! If you can’t take pictures, ask a friend or family member to do so.
5. Call the police if you think you might be injured.
6. Don’t admit fault at the accident scene if you’re not sure it was your fault. Don’t even say "I’m sorry this happened" or something similar as it could be construed as an admission of guilt.
7. Don’t overstate your injuries. Be honest and truthful!
8. If you go to the doctor for treatment, make sure you tell the doctor about ALL the areas of your body that hurt you. This is not the time to be shy. If it’s not in your medical records or chart notes, it basically doesn’t exist! If you don’t have health insurance, there are other ways to get medical treatment.
9. Don’t let a lawyer promise you the moon. A lawyer who doesn’t tell you about the potential downsides of your case is not a good lawyer.
10. Make sure your actions are consistent with your words. If your legs are hurt after an accident, don’t get caught running around town or doing aerobics at the gym. It generally won’t help you in the credibility department.
11. If you have visible injuries, take tons of pictures.
by Robert Mansour
Robert Mansour is a personal injury lawyer serving Santa Clarita, Valencia, Saugus, Canyon Country, Newhall, Stevenson Ranch, Castaic and surrounding communities.