Hello, everyone. My name is Robert Mansour. A question I get all the time is: I've been involved in a car accident. What should I be doing as soon as possible? When we're talking with a client on the phone, we are talking to them, they're generally just had an accident or they had an accident the day before. Here are some of the things that we try to focus on.
Number one: I tell the clients to see if there was a police report. The police report is very important because it might help establish fault. If you don't have a police report, the police might have given you a little card at the scene of the accident. You can call the number on the card and find out when that police report is going to be ready. Now if you don't have a police report, don't be surprised if the other side tries to change their story. This is one thing that we ask about. If you don't have one, it might not be a problem because the other side might already have confessed to the incident and taken liability, accepted fault. If they didn't accept fault and you don't have a police report, and there's no witnesses, you might have a big problem on your hands.
Number two thing you should do: You should get medical care as soon as possible. All of this is very interesting, but the most important thing is your healthcare. You've got to take care of yourself. Your injuries are more important than anything else. Plus, if you wait too long to seek medical care, the insurance company for the responsible party is going to doubt that you were injured.
So, for example, if the accident happens on this date and you wait a month before you do anything about it, and then the first time you go to the doctor is a month later, they're going to say, "Wait a minute, you waited a very long time before you did anything. You were probably not injured. You're probably faking it or you're probably embellishing it." You want to seek medical care as quickly as possible.
Also, you want to document what's going on. All of your injuries, all of your limitations, all of the ways the accident affected you, you want to communicate those to the medical professionals. You want them to write it down in their notes because, at some point in the future, if you do bring a claim, the insurance adjuster is going to be looking at these medical records and reading them very carefully. They're going to be looking for all the things that you complained about. What I tell my clients is the following: If it's not in the medical records, it's like it never happened. Documentation is very important.
Another thing I tell my clients is when you go get medical care, imagine the insurance adjuster for the other party is sitting on your shoulder, just a little insurance adjuster sitting there. They're listening to everything you say. If you say it, they will consider it, but if you don't say it, or you don't bring it up to your doctor, then they're just not going to consider it and you won't be able to bring it up later on.
The next thing that's very important is photos. You've got to have photos showing the damage to your vehicle, if possible damage the other vehicle. If you have bruises to your body, cuts, scrapes, those kinds of things, you need to take pictures of those kinds of things. Because, as they say, a picture tells a thousand words. A picture speaks a thousand words, rather. If you have photos, it's very compelling. On the one hand, you can tell people, "Oh, I got into a severe car accident," or "I had some bruises on my body." But if you show them the severe car accident and if you show them the damage to your vehicle, that's much more compelling.
Also, photos of injuries are very important as well. Bruises, cuts, and scrapes: very important. These are the most important things that we want to figure out in the very beginning. Then we want to figure out the insurance information. If you are injured and if you're going to think about bringing a claim, you have to ask yourself: Who's going to pay for all this? Well, does the other side have insurance? You'll be surprised, a lot of times they don't have insurance or they don't have enough insurance, in which case we need to look at your auto policy and take a look and see if you have something called uninsured motorist. Just because the other side has insurance doesn't mean you get to go all you can eat medical care. This is not a buffet.
You have to be very careful and judicious and you always have to ask yourself: How am I going to pay for my medical care? Perhaps you want to go through your own healthcare channels, your Blue Cross, Blue Shield, Aetna, Health Net, any variety of insurance companies. Or perhaps your own auto policy has some kind of medical benefits that we can use. Also, are you going to go through your own healthcare providers or are you going to find a doctor who perhaps specializes in personal injury cases?
These are some of the most important questions that we have. Finally, there's one more thing. With respect to insurance, the insurance company for the other party is going to call you. In most cases they're going to call you and they're going to ask you for a statement. They're going to want you to give what's called a recorded statement and they're going to ask your permission to record you. Usually that happens within the first few days of the accident. I am reluctant to do so. I tell my clients there's no reason to speak to the other side. Generally speaking, it doesn't serve your purposes at all. The insurance adjuster is usually trying to box you into a story. Their allegiance, if you will, is to their company and not to you. They may sound very friendly, but I assure you they are not acting in your best interest.
Finally, it might be a good idea to call a personal injury attorney and run some of the facts by them, and say, "Hey, listen. Is there anything else instead be doing? Should I hire an attorney? What are my options?" I hope you found this video helpful. If you'd like, you can call my office and arrange for an initial consultation. We'll see if we can help you with your accident case. Thank you very much.
Call us today at (661) 414-7100 if you've been involved in a serious auto accident.
by Robert Mansour
Robert Mansour is a personal injury lawyer serving Santa Clarita, Valencia,