The short answer right up front is that the only El Paso personal injury lawyer who should be calling you is the one you’ve hired to represent you. In a personal injury case, there are typically a number of lawyers involved: your attorney, the other driver’s attorney, and then the attorneys (or claims adjusters) from both insurance companies.
When you’ve hired a lawyer to represent you, that means your lawyer is the “front person” or “go-to person” handling your matter. In other words, if an insurance company needs to mail you something, they don’t send it to your home address; they send it to your lawyer’s office. Everyone should be talking to you through your lawyer—period.
To reiterate, you can and should expect your own attorney to call you for updates on your case. Of course, many of these calls (or emails) will be made by your lawyer’s support staff. You should expect to be in communication with your own lawyer regularly (not necessarily daily or weekly, but often). Remember that lawyers can’t access their cell phones in court and are often in all-day-long depositions. This can delay getting a callback sometimes.
Discussing Settlement Offers
By law, your attorney is required to present every settlement offer received to you. For example, if you told your lawyer, “I will not accept less than $50,000,” and your lawyer agreed, you will still be subjected to communications from your lawyer when a $10,000 settlement is offered. Your lawyer hasn’t forgotten your conversation but rather is required by law to tell you about the lowball offer. In personal injury cases, a lot of discussion can be had over various settlement offers, so these are phone calls you can expect.
Obtaining Necessary Information
A third reason you’ll receive calls and emails from your attorney’s office is if they need to get a phone number, amount, or case detail from you. Maybe you forgot to give them one of your medical bills, or they forgot to ask about the date of a certain surgery you underwent – either way, there are an infinite number of details, it seems, in accident cases.
The Other Driver’s Lawyer Called
Just like you’ve seen on countless TV shows where police officers try to trick people into saying something incriminating, lawyers can use these same tactics. Opposing legal teams have even been known to show up unannounced at personal injury victim’s houses, offices, and schools—don’t think a phone call is the extent of it.
There are three main reasons that the other driver’s lawyer would contact you directly, none of which are ethical:
- to see what you might say when your own lawyer isn’t coaching, guiding, informing, and protecting you
- to intimidate you, which, of course, is also unethical
- to try to sell you on a less-than-stellar settlement offer
Lawyers from One of the Insurance Companies Called
Sadly, you should really treat both your insurance company and the other driver’s insurance company as being on the other side of your case. The only person in a personal injury who has your best interest in mind is your lawyer. The lawyer from your insurance company is not “your lawyer” at all, and s/he is not affiliated in any way with your law firm.
The only thing your insurance company cares about is paying out the least amount possible, which means if they can coax you into admitting you consumed one beer before driving or anything else that might compromise their need to cover you, they will do it. You are under no obligation to do anything other than provide them with the facts of the case. If an insurance company attorney calls, be even more wary if they try to earn your trust and act like your friend. This is a tell-tale sign of manipulation on their part, so don’t take the bait.
After your initial claim has been filed, you can tell the insurance company to call your attorney if they need something. You can also say, “I’d like to consult with my attorney first.” It never hurts to let them know you are aware of your rights.
Calls from Lawyers the Day After Your Accident
It’s almost 100% certain that any lawyer (or insurance representative) who makes an unsolicited call to you immediately after an accident is not acting in good faith or behaving ethically.
Insurance “Follow Up” Calls
If anyone from either insurance company is contacting you like that before the dust has even settled, it’s because they want to catch you before you’ve had a chance to hire a lawyer. A lot of people are in debt and have many financial concerns—insurance companies know this. If they call you immediately after an accident, it’s because:
- They want to see if you’ll take a lowball settlement offer.
- They want you to give them a recorded statement before you’ve had a chance to talk to a lawyer.
- They want to get you to slip up and say something mitigating, such as, “Oh, I’m doing a little better…yes, thanks for asking” – rest assured, they will twist that into, “Your honor, the plaintiff told me the day after the collision that she already felt better.”
Personal Injury Lawyer Cold Calls
The other kind of next-day phone calls you may receive after an accident are from personal injury lawyers trying to solicit your business. Soliciting business like this (i.e., making a cold call to someone who hasn’t reached out to you first) is a violation of bar association rules—it’s a serious offense and should be reported. Don’t tell these lawyers anything, and just take it as a sign that your case is probably of high value, and that means you need a top-notch, professional lawyer on your side ASAP.
Call Our El Paso Personal Attorneys and Learn Your Rights Today
As you can see, plenty of innocuous-seeming people will try to manipulate you in a personal injury case. Our El Paso personal injury lawyers speak English and Spanish and are ready to fight for you. Call Cesar Ornelas Injury Law at 855-594-3878 or message us today.
Originally from Kyle, Texas, Mr. Ornelas is a first-generation college graduate and a first-generation attorney.
Licensed in Texas, Cesar Ornelas’s nationwide practice is entirely contingency fee-based and consists of a wide variety of catastrophic personal injury and death cases. He has represented countless victims of catastrophic accidents across the United States.