Top Things You Need to Know If You Are Injured In An Accident
Before representing accident victims in New Jersey, Anthony J. Murgatroyd worked for a major insurance company. As an insurance company lawyer, he defended against all kinds of accident injury claims- auto accidents, slip and fall accidents, and more.
Go the doctor as soon as possible.You need to go the doctor as soon as possible if you haven't already gone. Don't delay thinking you will get better. A doctor's visit is not just for diagnosis and medical treatment. You need to have your problems documented. The longer the time between the accident date and the date you first go to the doctor, the more the insurance company will dispute your claim. You need to go to the right doctor. Not all doctors have practices that will provide the specific kind of care that accident patients need. For example, you will usually not receive the necessary attention and treatment from a family doctor or primary care physician that you will from a doctor who specializes in treating people who have been injured in an accident. You need to go to all of the doctor and physical therapy appointments that are prescribed for you. People sometimes fail to complete the treatment program prescribed by their doctor. This is a mistake, both for medical reasons and in terms of the insurance claim. The responsible party's insurance company will penalize you for not doing what the doctor's recommend to make yourself better. You may not heal as quickly or even at all, and you'll likely receive less from the settlement.
Do not speak to the responsible party's investigator or insurance adjusterIf you have been contacted to the responsible party's investigator or insurance adjuster, do not speak to them. Speak to a lawyer first. It is almost never a good idea to give any statements to the other side. You have to be extremely careful what you say to the insurance company--for example, how you describe the accident or your injuries. They will try to use everything you say against you. Even an offhand remark or side comment can potentially lead to a dramatic decrease in the settlement offered to you on a claim.
Do not try to settle your case directly with the other sideIt is almost never a good idea to try to settle your case directly with the other side and without legal representation. Contrary to the way that he or she may act, the insurance company adjuster is not your friend. He or she has one ultimate goal: to convince you to settle your case for as little as possible, and often for much less than it's worth. Don't be fooled.
Don't wait to report your accident.If you were injured, it's almost certain that the responsible person or their insurance company have already started to work against you. If you were involved in a motor vehicle accident, you must promptly report your accident to your automobile insurance company or you may lose your benefits. However, you also need to immediately report your accident to someone on your side. To protect your own interests, the facts of your case should be quickly and clearly related to a qualified, experienced personal injury attorney.
Document all damages and get the names of any witnessesYou must have photographs taken of your injuries, the damage to your vehicle and the other vehicles (if possible). Don't delay in obtaining a consultation with an experience personal injury lawyer. Delay may cause the conditions to change. Delay will ultimately make your case more difficult to prove, and can result in a lower recovery for you. Any good, experienced, personal injury lawyer will have a top notch legal investigator that can promptly locate witnesses, obtain photographs and uncover evidence helpful to your case before conditions change.
Review different types of monetary damages under New Jersey lawYou may be entitled to a number of different types of monetary damages under New Jersey law. If you don't know how each one may apply to your case, find someone to help you who does know. The seven of the most common types of damages are:
oLoss of earnings
oPain and suffering
oLoss of consortium
oDamage to your vehicle
Choose the right lawyer for your personal injury caseChoosing the right lawyer for a personal injury case is a very important decision. It is important to know how much experience and how successful the attorney has been in the type of matter involved. This could mean any one of the many areas of personal injury law such as automobile accident cases, medical malpractice, slip, trip, and fall cases, malpractice, products liability, and many, many more. Before a lawyer is retained, learn about their background. Ask them to relate specific examples of their successes in the areas involved. You need to know how well they do at trial and what kind of settlements they get. Learn how well they are recognized by their peers.
Research lawyer's credentialsWhen it comes to handling accident and injury cases, not all personal injury lawyers are the same:
oNot all have significant experience in handling accident and injury cases
oNot all are skilled in the art of negotiating
oNot all have a record of success at trial
oNot all are personally involved in their clients' cases
oFew have obtained multi-million dollar settlements for their clients
oHardly any have been nominated by their peers to serve as County Bar Presidents
oHardly any have been asked write and lecture other lawyers on personal injury law
oHardly any have actually worked for an insurance company
oLess than 1% are board certified civil trial attorneys, even fewer hold both State and National Board Certification