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Silence Is Golden: Protecting Your Rights After an Accident

istockphoto

istockphoto

Stillman & Friedland wants to help you maximize your financial recovery if you or a loved one has been hurt in an accident. We cannot overstate the importance of having maximum limits of uninsured motorist coverage—if the party at fault has no insurance, you can still recover enough to cover your medical, work, and property losses, and pain and suffering.

Here’s another important way to help you get the recovery you deserve, and it’s what we tell all our clients:

Speak as little as possible with the insurance company, as it can hurt your case; they can and will use anything you say against you later, if possible. It is their job to save money, they are not interested in helping you.

Please remember, this is not because we want you to be untruthful, in fact we also tell our clients:

Never be untruthful with your doctors and your attorneys…It is very important that you observe this rule, otherwise, your credibility will be destroyed and so will the value of your case.

However, making statements to insurance companies is just like what you say in court: Anything you say can and will be used against you. Just as everyone knows that you don’t go to court without a lawyer, you don’t talk to the insurance company except through your lawyer!

These days there are two tricky variations on what you “tell.”  One is that insurance companies frequently send out investigators, perhaps to ask the neighbors if you lift your groceries out the trunk and carry them into the house yourself, or to see if you are, say, weeding the yard, or doing other work around the house. If neighbors repeat what you have told them, it may seem to be harmless, but may sink your case if they unintentionally skip or add a detail. At the same time, be honest about your activity level:

If you are working around the home or in the yard, do not claim that you can do nothing.

The second variation is that these days a lot of what we say is sent out in writing and in photos. Even your text messages are not your own, once you send them out. Even more so with what is on social media like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  Nothing you say or show in social media is ever confidential, nor can you erase it. The insurance company can easily recover this kind of material, especially if it is to your detriment.

Remember that as with any professional relationship, you must rely on our expertise, while doing your part to help your case.

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