Basic Rules to follow:
1. TALK TO NO ONE: Do not talk to anyone about your accident except one of the lawyers or investigators in our office. You should always require identification so that you are sure who you are talking to. Do not even talk to your own insurance company or any lawyers hired by your own insurance company without notifying us so that we may be present if we desire. We will generally want these statements taken in our office. Please do not talk to your friends, family or co-workers about your case. You never know who they know or might speak with.
2. YOUR DOCTOR: You should return to each of your doctors as often as necessary and should always tell them about all of your complaints. If you see any additional doctors, be sure we are advised immediately of their names and addresses.
3. RECORDS-OF-COMPLAINTS: Please keep a daily or weekly record of your complaints and progress. This can be very helpful when, a year later, you will be called upon to relate upon to relate your pain and difficulties.
4. WAGE AND EARNING LOSS: Please keep an accurate record of all days lost from work as a result of your injuries.
5. MEDICAL BILLS: Obtain and keep duplicate copies of all medical, hospital and drug bills. You should periodically send these bills to us for our files. Also keep records of any other expense you may have in connection with your accident, such as the hiring of extra help. All of your bills should be paid by check or you should obtain and keep receipt. You should keep a list of your medical bills and the costs incurred in going to your doctor.
6. CAR REPAIR: Do not have your automobile repaired until you are sure that we have obtained pictures of it. After pictures are taken by this office, have your collision insurance carrier repair your car.
7. TRAFFIC OFFENSES: If you are arrested in connection with this accident, call one of the lawyers in the office and we will see that someone represents or advises you. In the event of a coroner’s inquest or other type of hearing, be sure to notify this office so that we will be able to represent you in connection with this inquest.
8. WITNESSES: Furnish to us immediately the correct name, addresses and telephone numbers of any and all witnesses you may learn of.
9. SAVE YOUR CAST: If your injury requires a cast, brace, or traction, or other appliance, save it. When the case is set for trial, you should bring these items with you.
10. PHOTOGRAPHS: Send us the negatives and prints of any photographs pertaining to your case which you or any of your friends have taken. If you are reguired to be in the hospital and are receiving any type of treatment like traction or physical therapy, please notify our office.
11. HOSPITAL AND DOCTOR BILLS: Have your own auto insurance carrier pay as many hospital and doctor bills under the medical payment provisions of your policy as possible. You should also have your hospitalization insurance, such as Blue Cross & Blue Shield, pay as much on your bills as possible. You should not expect doctors and hospitals to wait until your case is tried or settled to receive payment. You should, therefore, pay any balance as soon as possible.
12. QUESTIONS: We will probably not contact you until we have something definite to report. We will be contacting you for depositions, answers to interrogatories, and then, when your case goes to trial, which may be in excess of one year from the time that suit is files.
13. YOUR ADDRESS: Be sure and keep us advised of any changes in your address or telephone number. Please do not come in expecting to see one of the attorneys without an appointment, because the attorneys have hearings, depositions, and trials to attend. Making an appointment will insure that the attorney will be available to speak with you.
14. BE PATIENT: Personal injury claims and lawsuits can take a long time—Many times in excess of one (1) year. We too would like to resolve your case as quickly as possible, however, we will not do so before the appropriate time. If the insurance company knows you are too anxious to settle, the price will go down.
15. NEVER FILE CLAIMS WITHOUT OUR APPROVAL: Claims for insurance benefits, whether medical insurance, or no fault through your own insurance company, should not filed without our prior review. We are happy to review your medical insurance claim forms, your personal injury protection forms (PIP), and any other forms. We will make no additional charge for reviewing these forms, and we will assist you in every way with regard to submitting these forms. Our purpose in reviewing these forms is to make sure there is no damaging statement made on the form which may unknowingly affect your claim.
16. YOU MAY BE FOLLOWED/INVESTIGATED: After a claim is filed, and many times merely as a matter of course after an insurance company becomes aware of an incident leading to a potential claim/case, should they feel that the damages warrant it or that the liability or injuries are questionable, the insurance carrier or other party may actually hire an investigator regarding your claim/case to use any information learned against you. This means that you may be followed without your knowledge, filmed and/or recorded, your claims history will be investigated, back-ground checks may be performed, credit checks may be done, etc. EVEN WITHOUT YOUR KNOWLEDGE THAT IT IS HAPPENING! For these reasons, it is imperative that if you have various limitations prescribed by a treating physician that you follow them. Similarly, if you engage in activity that would otherwise be construed as contrary to the injuries claimed, such may be used against you and damage the value and even the viability of your claim/case.
17. TELL YOUR LAWYER EVERYTHING: That means everything. Even if you think it may be unimportant, tell your lawyer. If you hurt your back ten (10) years ago, tell your lawyer now. If you were convicted of a crime many years ago and have been a model citizen since that time, tell your lawyer. It is better that your lawyer hear these things from you, so that he can prepare your case. We do not want to be surprised by the Defendants in Court.
COURTESY OF SOKOLOFF & WEINSTEIN, P.A., ATTORNEYS AT LAW, IN ROYAL PALM BEACH.
(561) 790-6788 / 790-4505