“Why You Should Listen To Your Attorney & Tune Out Everyone Else”
In moments of stress, the kind of stress that is easily associated with the troubles that come from car accidents or injuries, it is human nature to seek car accident legal advice or counsel from a lot of different people.
Authority figures, friends, and family members are where we instinctively reach out to when we want answers about how to handle important or difficult situations in life.
Unfortunately, the law is one of the few areas in life where your instinct to seek advice from those closest to you may not be serving you well.
When you ask for legal advice from people you know like co-workers or loved ones or if you place your trust in an institution or insurance agency, you put yourself at great risk.
This is because if you rely on legal counsel (advice) from anyone other than an experienced car accident lawyer, who is representing your interests, you can accidently make yourself legally vulnerable.
It’s difficult and uncomfortable for us to accept the idea that the people we want to trust, do not necessarily have our best interests in mind.
While Police Officers may seem friendly, their ultimate goal is law enforcement, which means their job in the legal process is focused on crime: making arrests, writing citations and tickets… NOT giving you a “break”.
Insurance representatives can also seem understanding at first, but they are paid to represent the insurance company…NOT you.
And while your parents, friends or that uncle who was seriously injured in a car wreck awhile back, do care about your future well-being, asking them for legal help can lead to trouble down the road.
This is because they do not know the intricacies of car accident law – beyond the few facts they have picked up along the way – so these “tips” and “tricks” probably won’t apply to your particular situation.
Relying on the legal advice of someone who has not extensively studied law, who is not a lawyer, is hazardous.
There are a few things that are important to remember when you are seeking advice about a legal situation, and more importantly, if you are being questioned about a legal situation by an institution, agency, or individual outside of your trusted circle of loved ones.
1. There’s no benefit to rushing: take a breath and wait for your lawyer
The first and most imperative thing to know is that you never have to talk to anyone without your attorney present, and, in fact, doing so can be very dangerous. Consider the following situation: if you sustain injuries from another vehicle crashing into yours in downtown Asheville, the insurance company will want to talk to you right away.
One of the reasons for this urgency is that the insurance company hopes to get you to file all of your information before you receive a medical examination.
Because, if you have not been examined by a medical professional, if the auto-body damage appears minimal, if your neck is not currently hurting (which is often the case when the body is still in shock following a crash), then the insurance company has on file that you reported there was no serious injury sustained.
What if a later MRI shows your doctor that you require neurosurgery for your back and you talked to the insurance company when your back was numb and before the symptoms started?
Don’t be pressured into hurrying the process. Take your time, allow yourself some time to think, and contact an attorney before you speak to anyone.
2. No one, including the police, can legally cut you breaks for being cooperative
No credit agency, insurance company, or even law enforcement agency has the legal authority to make the kind of deals with you that would affect your legal standing.
Beware of offers that hinge on any admission, disclosure, or cooperation beyond general politeness, and never agree to share information, even if you think it’s harmless, without having first checked with a lawyer to see that the information you give won’t cause you trouble down the road.
Only a personal injury attorney (one who is hired to represent YOU) can tell you with certainty that a proposal is valid and beneficial. Also keep in mind that nothing is ever “off the record.”
Phone calls are recorded, interview rooms have microphones, and everything you say can, and very likely will, be used against you should your case end up in court.
Your mother was right: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Often times these are common sense situations; if someone is pushing you to give information before you speak to a doctor, an attorney, or another necessary professional—and particularly if they are trying to “sweeten the deal” to elicit that information—there is probably a reason, so be guarded.
3. Miscommunications & manipulations are far more likely to take place in the absence of legal counsel
Miscommunications happen all the time and, less frequently but unacceptably often, manipulation takes place between individuals and institutions on either side of a legal issue.
Occasionally, it happens that individuals are coerced into giving information under the suggestion that they will be held criminally responsible for something for which they are not actually legally liable. Whether this is a mere implication or straightforward misrepresentation, it is against the law.
For instance, if a creditor or collection agent calls your house and hints that you can be sued for a delinquent payment, they have broken the law.
Unfortunately, it is difficult for an individual to know all of their rights in every situation, and too many people are bullied into submission by the blatant, deliberate lies of the institutions that we believe to have a certain amount of authority.
If you are in legal trouble, lean on your friends and family for emotional support, cooperate with law enforcement and government officials in matters of safety, and, when it’s time to talk, be honest with the people to whom you speak.
But never take legal advice from anyone other than an experienced injury lawyer.
Please, if you are in need of legal counsel, contact an injury attorney before you talk to anyone else.
At Fisher Stark, P.A., we are experienced in many areas of the law, including Personal Injury and Brain Injury Law, Product Liability Law, and Construction and Condemnation Law. We serve the state of North Carolina, including Asheville, Hendersonville, Transylvania, Brevard and Marion.
We are committed to defending our clients’ rights and protecting them from the kinds of miscommunication and manipulation that can often hinder the success of cases. If you are in need of legal advice or assistance, please contact us to see how we can help.
We will work hard to get you the justice & fair compensation you deserve. Fisher Stark, P.A. is a highly respected personal injury law firm in Asheville, NC. We provide experienced legal help for clients in Asheville, NC, and all the communities in Western North Carolina. Collectively, our legal team – Perry Fisher and Brad Stark – have more than 50 years of trial practice and have participated in more than 1,000+ injury cases. Call 828-505-4300 for a free consultation.