As a legal assistant in the personal injury field I can tell you not to wait until you talk to a lawyer to see a doctor. If you're really hurt your health obviously comes first and it just makes you look like an opportunist if you talked to your lawyer first. I can also tell you that just because someone DID call their lawyer first does not mean they weren't hurt. Some people really are hurting after an accident but afraid to do anything without knowing legal ramifications first. Especially those people who have a brother, sister, son, daughter, friend, etc that is a lawyer of any kind - this is a mistake!!! Obviously take care of yourself no matter what.
I can also tell you to always get uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. I've seen too many horrible, life altering accidents caused by uninsured motorists where the victim had no coverage in that regard.
IN addition I can tell you to prepare for a fight if you ever do need uninsured motorists coverage. You pay your insurance company for years for the product, but they aren't in the business to pay it out easily. We have client's in their 3rd and 4th year fighting with their OWN insurance company after being hit by an uninsured driver. This is especially true for insurance companies like Mercury and 21st Century/AIG.
If you ever need the services of an attorney please be sure to get the documents they ask for back to them in a timely manner. It may seem like a lot of work, but just think, the assistants have to do that work 10 fold. If you do not get documents back to your attorney in a timely manner it may result in serious repercussions to you, including sanctions (fines) from the court and the dismissal of your case. If you've hired a quality attorney he/she is working hard for you and the little he/she asks of you has to be done for your own benefit.
Lets see, what else - I can tell you not to fall for the commercials on the air right now for Allstate. The ones where President Palmer of 24 tells you how horrible it is to be in the defendant's seat alone and how the plaintiff can wipe you out of your child's college fund. #1 - all auto insurance policies include a clause that they will provide free defense to you should you be sued as a result of an accident. This is not a special perk for being an Allstate insured. If you are ever sued in such a regard send the papers you're served with to your insurance adjuster ASAP and they will send it to a qualified defense attorney. #2 - If you have done nothing that warrants punitive (punishing) damages (like driving drunk or on drugs or driving recklessly or racing) the insurance carrier is responsible for any verdict in excess of the policy limits. if your insurance company has properly defended your case they should know its value and not have allowed an excess verdict in the first place.
Yes there is a chance you may get an excess verdict if your case goes to trial. If you were driving under the influence or injured people as a result of a speed contest you better bet a jury will want to punish you with punitive damages (that's why most insurance companies try to settle those cases quick!!! They have a contractual obligation to give you the best defense possible) The only time I have ever seen an insurance company deny coverage was when a kid stole his parents car and picked up some friends. he decided to drive extremely fast down a local street to impress the one girl in the car, lost control of his vehicle, went over the center bay of the street and hit a tree. he was excluded from his parent's policy so they denied coverage. BTW - the girl was NOT impressed. The Traffic Collision report indicated that she was screaming at him for being an idiot and told the cops how scared she was when she was later interviewed.
That brings me to another point DON'T exclude your driving age children from your policy. even angels make mistakes and do things like I mentioned above. The extra premium is certainly nothing compared to the damage that can be caused if they take the car out for a "quick" joyride and get in an accident.
I guess that's it for now
Oh - I have to add one thing I know about the environmental stewardship I do. The U.S. Forest Service is legally prohibited to lobby in their own regard. Therefore, it is up to the people who enjoy their forests to lobby for them. I just came back from a volunteer trip cleaning out a marijuana camp that was busted on U.S. Forest land in Los Padres NF (write up soon) WHAT A MESS!!! We found everything from razors to underwear to hypodermic needles deep in our forest and took out 600 pounds of it. Its OUR land!!! We should speak up
OK - off the soap box too