We recently came across a number of our readers that had rear end collisions which have occurred during the winter months. We found a number of people were out of work or had an injury but had no idea what to do.
To get some answer on what to do in case of being rear-ended we talked to the Law Offices of James Morris of Buffalo, New York, whom was kind enough to offer some general advice.
They said , Clients often ask if they need a lawyer if they are in an car accident and have been rear ended.
The recent case of Bronson v. Hansel is a clear example of why you need a lawyer .
Trudi Bronson was involved in an auto accident She had a property damage claim against the driver and she had a neck injury. She accepted $2000.00 after negotiations about the value of the damage to her vehicle.
Although she maintained that the insurance adjuster told her the Release she was given to sign was for the property damage only, the Release contained additional language concerning injuries.
Trudi had an MRI of her neck shortly thereafter and she was found to have a serious neck injury – a herniated disc in her neck. Her injury claim was dismissed by the Judge and the dismissal was affirmed on appeal, even though two of the Judges on the panel believed she had signed the Release under the mistaken belief that she was only Releasing her property damage claim.
We all sign documents without reading the small print (I recall house closings in particular). You have to call an attorney immediately after an accident to protect your rights.
In this case the insurance company could have allowed her to bring her claim. Instead the insurance company chose to take advantage of a very questionable Release obtained from her before she had a lawyer. After an auto accident call a lawyer. The initial consultation is usually without charge and levels the playing field with an insurance company.
You can visit our blog to read the full case from the state of New York.