(Transcript) Welcome to Pennsylvania Law TV, today we will be talking about auto accidents and what to do in the weeks after an accident. My guest is attorney Dave Miller and he is going to talk with us about this topic. So Dave thanks for being here today.
Dave: Thank you.
Dei: What if I felt fine after the accident but notice an injury later?
Dave: Well this is certainly not unusual for certain types of injuries, if you don’t have a fracture or an injury where you are bleeding. A lot of times your injuries will be called soft tissue injuries and these injuries sometimes take a while to produce symptoms. What I would suggest is if you are experiencing symptoms, call your physician right away, let them know what happened, let them know you were in an automobile accident, talk to them about your symptoms and ask them what the best thing is. It might be at that point a good time to go to the emergency room or to another health clinic where you can get treated immediately.
Most times you will be able to be treated at one of those facilities quicker than your family physician or even a specialist that you might already be treating with. It’s very important to document your symptoms as they develop and the best way to do that is to get the quickest medical care you can.
Dei: I’ve heard some instances where the other insurance company, especially if there are significant injuries, will actually send a check. If that were to happen is it okay to cash the check?
Dave: Absolutely not. Under no circumstances. If an insurance company sends you a check and you’re not sure what it is for, you should not cash the check. Many times insurance companies will send a check with a release and even show up at your door 3 or 4 days after a crash, and say here is a check for $500, sign here and this is all yours, we will make everything go away. Well guess what, there are plenty of times where that $500 might sound good right then and there but the reality is your claim is worth a lot more money. It takes a while for your claim to develop and your injuries to develop and to see what kind of medical treatment you may need, if you’re going to lose time from work, and what the long term ramifications are from the injuries that you sustained.
If we settle claims very quickly we are falling into the hands of the insurance company. There is a reason why they are showing up at your door with a check. It’s because they are trying to get out of the claim for as little money as possible. If you receive a check from the insurance company after an automobile crash you should contact an attorney. Most attorneys who do this work day in and day out will give you a free consultation. You’re not going to lose any money out of that check if you talk to an attorney about it, and what an attorney will do is analyze the situation, find out what that check is for, even maybe reach out to the insurance adjuster who wrote you that check and make sure your interests are protected. Again, remember what we are trying to do is help you not be taken advantage of by the insurance company. Use the free consultation that our firm provides and you will then know or at least have peace of mind that you’re doing the right thing.
Dei: And how should I go about looking for a lawyer, should I ask someone I trust for a referral?
Dave: Well you could do that, you could ask for a referral but what I would do if my family was in a crash is I would do my research. I would look at individuals that have a nice presence on their website. Look at their ratings. There are plenty of organizations that rate attorneys, you can look up any kind of ethical violations or disciplinary complaints that have been made against an attorney or law firm. You also want to look at their experience. Is this the type of firm that handles these cases every day, is their staff the kind of people that handle phone calls about automobile cases every single day. When you do all that research then you can make an informed decision as to what attorney and what law firm is right for you.