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What Are The Top Misconceptions That People Have About Auto Accidents?

The biggest misconception people have about automobile accidents is how soon they can get resolved. Under New York’s law, unfortunately, you have to have a serious injury, which means either a fracture, a loss of a fetus, being unable to work for 90 days or have a consequent or significant limitation of a body part or function. So, unless you have a fracture if diagnosed at the hospital, most of these tests, so to speak, take time, so it’s not like you got hurt on Wednesday and you can have a settlement on Sunday. Typically, it takes time to develop a case and to see what someone’s injuries are.

Typically, they will have to go through, if they’re injured, they are going to have to go through certain testing and go through, maybe, an MRI or EMG or other electro-diagnostic testing to figure out what’s wrong with them and it takes time to document or see whether an injury causes a limitation on a somewhat permanent basis because you have to meet all of these tests that legislature has required that you meet in the personal injury case. The days of quick settlements are over.

What Are The Main Concerns When People Speak To You About Their Auto Accident Cases?

The biggest concerns are, “Who’s going to pay my medical bills?” We especially see this concern with a lot of people who do manual labor, who work in construction or restaurants or other jobs that require them to stand or do heavy lifting for long periods of time and they just can’t do with the injuries that they’ve sustained.

Usually the biggest questions are, “Who’s going to pay the bills?” and, “How am I going to make a living?” Those usually are the two primary questions we hear and those are generally provided for by the no-fault system where the insurance carrier of either the vehicle you were in or the vehicle that hits you in the case of a pedestrian or a bicyclist has to pay your medical bills and pay your lost wages.

Typically, once we submit a no-fault application stating that an individual is not able to work, there will be the disability letter, so the clients certainly need to see the doctors and get evaluated and get a letter from the doctor stating they are not able to do their work. We forward that to the insurance company and then they forward to that person’s employer.

In the case of somebody who is employed, there is what’s called a no-fault verification form or a no-fault wage verification form that the employer has to fill out. Once the insurance company has a no-fault verification form and a disability letter, they are obligated to pay.

What Are Some Unintentional Mistakes That Can Be Detrimental to a Person’s Accident Claim?

The big thing people do is just nothing. Unfortunately, the biggest thing that people do that hurts their case is, basically, just try to live with the pain or just try to suffer in silence and stay home and not go and get the medical attention they need. This creates a documentation problem and we can’t prove the injury or that this accident caused the injury.

It’s unfortunate that the people who are usually suffering the worst are the ones who don’t go to the doctor and those are the hardest cases because it’s tough to convince anyone nowadays. Everyone is skeptical – it’s tough to convince a judge or a jury or even an insurance adjuster that someone really was injured, but they didn’t go to a doctor even though they lived and worked in pain and they’re not the kind of people who were or are looking for a lawsuit.

Everyone just assumes that if they were injured or if they had these problems, they would go and see a doctor sooner, and that’s really the biggest problem we have. Other problems include lack of documentation, not calling the police or just exchanging information without calling the police and getting everything documented or in cases where there is significant damage or total loss.

Another common mistake letting the car get repaired or junked without taking pictures of it. That loss of evidentiary value of either a police report or pictures does hurt the case, and the reality is people often are more honest with the officers right on the scene than they are after they’ve been assigned an insurance defense lawyer who tells them what they have done.

What Should I Do If the Other Party’s Insurance Wants Me To Make A Statement?

Whenever you have another insurance company representing someone whose interests are adverse to yours, you should always tell them that you have retained an attorney and to contact your attorney. The insurance company isn’t going to produce the other side for a statement for us or to let us prove what happened through the use of their witnesses, so why should we give them that courtesy? We really shouldn’t.

They are not there to help you, they’re there only to hurt you, they’re there trying to twist and manipulate what happened and a lot of times, even more recently, we’ve had a lot of cases of insurance people really overreaching and telling people that they have no case or their injuries aren’t enough and they won’t be able to get anything anyway if they sue us, they should just take the offer now.

We have one recent case where they got a woman to sign a release for a thousand dollars. Now, we were able to get the release voided, but it was an uphill battle because she believed what they told her. So, really, they’re there to try to hurt you. So, definitely never ever — whenever you get contacted by another insurance company, I would say, don’t speak to them and retain an attorney immediately.

For more information on Misconceptions About Auto Accidents, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling 212-858-0503 today.

 
The Law Offices of Michael H. Joseph