Law From A Woman’s Point Of View. Yvonne Griffin – Charlottesville Injury & Accident Attorney Senior Female Partner at TGB Over 17 years as a Lawyer A personal message from Mrs. Griffin. For more detailed information about Ms. Griffin, visit her bio and her resume. Have you been injured? If so, these ten tips may be important to you and your case. 1. The lawyer you choose is your most important decision. You must trust your attorney and have confidence in your attorney. Your attorney must be accessible. I believe that speaking to each client personally is important; therefore, you will meet with me, not a paralegal, when you come in for your consultation. I will give you my personal, direct telephone number so you can speak with me whenever you have need. I understand that your case is very important to you, and I will always treat you with the utmost respect. I have been practicing since 1988, but I have done nothing but injury law since 1996. I chose to limit my practice this way so that I could do my best job on one type of case rather than doing only a good job on lots of different types of cases. You don’t get in accidents everyday, so you don’t know what is expected. I handle accident cases all day, every day. I want to help you to a successful conclusion of your case. 2. Get the names and telephone numbers of any potential witnesses. If you are not too shaken up at the scene of the collision, get the names and telephone numbers of any potential witnesses. 3. Take pictures of bruises, cuts and other injuries. Take pictures of bruises, cuts and other injuries. Outward signs of many injuries will disappear in days or weeks even though you continue to have pain. Documenting these injuries with photographs will make proving the injury much easier. 4. Do not give a recorded statement to the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Do not give a recorded statement to the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Many times my clients feel shaken up or disoriented after an accident. The last thing you need to do when you are not feeling quite yourself is to give the at-fault driver’s insurance company a recorded statement about what happened. You may forget important facts or you may not be remembering clearly. Talk with an attorney first or simply do not allow a recorded statement. 5. Do not sign consent forms for the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Do not sign consent forms for the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Often the insurance company will ask you to sign a form giving them permission to obtain your medical records and bills. These “consent forms" can allow the insurance company to look at your past medical records as well as the records related to your accident. You do not want an insurance company to tell you that they are not going to pay for your injuries because you were injured years before. Talk with an attorney before signing any forms. 6. The insurance adjuster is working for the at-fault driver – not you. Remember that, no matter how friendly he seems to be, the insurance adjuster is working for the at-fault driver – not you. 7. Be sure all your healthcare providers are billing your health insurance. If you have health insurance, be sure that all of your healthcare providers (doctors, hospitals, chiropractors) are billing it and not the at-fault driver’s insurance. The at-fault driver will still have to pay your medical bills in the end, but, in the meantime, let your health insurance do what you have been paying it to do – cover your bills. 8. Call your own auto insurance carrier and ask if you have “med pay" coverage. Medical expense benefit is a type of coverage you can purchase for a fairly nominal fee. This coverage will pay your medical bills if you suffer an auto-related injury. The at-fault driver’s insurance and your health insurance will also pay these bills. 9. Do not tell anyone you are "fine" or "good" if you are not. Do not tell your healthcare providers or the insurance adjuster that you are feeling “fine" or “good" if you are not. Most of us respond automatically when asked how we are doing. Be sure that you give an accurate description of how you are feeling. Healthcare providers and adjusters make records of what you say. If you say you are feeling “fine" two weeks after an accident, you may have trouble proving that you hurt more than two weeks. 10. Talk about your case with an attorney. I will tell you if your case is simple enough for you to handle on your own. Don’t start on your own and make mistakes that cannot be undone. A few minutes on the telephone or in the office with an attorney may save you much time and money down the road.