How Should You Interact with the Police at the Scene of an Accident?
Interviewer: Do you recommend that following an accident, an individual should make a statement immediately to the police? Or is that when they should contact you first?
If You Do Not Require an Ambulance, Tell the Officer You Are Seeking Medical treatment on Your Own
Jack: If you’re at the scene of the accident and the police officer is trying to determine what happened, yes, by all means, talk to them. If they’re asking if you need any emergency medical attention, if you want the ambulance, ask for it, but if not but you are feeling some discomfort, you should always, I don’t feel like I need an ambulance, but I will seek medical attention on my own.
After an Accident, a Medical Problem May Not Manifest Itself until Several Days Later
Interviewer: That’s a good point actually. Is it harder to prove that you have an injury if you do wait a couple of days or is it very common that you might not experience any pain the day of the accident?
Jack: Absolutely. Adrenalin’s still pumping through, and you’re distracted by a number of things. You’re now without your car. You have to find out how you’re going to get a rental car. How will you get to work? There are all kinds of outside issues that distract you, and you just think that maybe within a day or two, this neck pain or back pain will go away.
Attorney O’Donnell Finds That Many People Delay in Seeking Medical Care
After you’ve gotten some of your personal affairs straightened out and a few days have passed and you’re still in pain, sometimes that’s when you call the lawyer, and you decide to go get medical attention.
Insurance companies, of course, try to take advantage of any gaps in treatment, saying that if you’re injured, you get medical attention. But I say some people aren’t the litigious type, aren’t the kind to go off and make a claim anytime they’re in an accident. They’re looking to get it resolved, let time heal them, and once they realize that that may not be in their best interest, they then contact an attorney and go see a doctor.
Is It in Your Best Interest to Settle a Personal Injury Case Quickly?
Interviewer: When you mention how long the process could take, do you find sometimes clients just want to avoid a long drawn out process? Do they settle prematurely? What would be your advice against giving up too soon?
The Fastest Settlement Is Not Always the Insurance Company’s Best Offer
Jack: You tell them you don’t like to leave any money on the table, and by settling quickly, you’re taking short money. But who am I to lecture a client if they are in financial circumstances that dictate that they take whatever can be negotiated and close the case out prematurely?
That’s a personal decision that I can’t challenge really. I explain to them that they’re going to leave money that would have been there if they had let me take it its full course, but I’m never going to dictate that to somebody.