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War Stories: Do as I say, not as I did

Jim M. Zadeh
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Attorney at Law

What NOT to do after an automobile accident.

25 years ago, I worked for a large law firm and sometimes defended car accident lawsuits for insurance companies. I often would write up settlement papers as part of my job. One day on the way home from work, a driver ran a red light and I was T-boned. My head hit the driver's side door window but I thought I was OK. I did not call the police. I did not get a report made. The other driver was nice and offered to write a check for the damage to my car on the spot.  I agreed, got the check and even wrote up and signed handwritten settlement papers for him. The next day I began to get soreness in one spot on the left side of the base of my neck. But I did not see a doctor. The pain persisted for several weeks. To this day, I still get tightness in that spot when the weather turns cold. I could not recover anything for this because I did not call the police, did not make a report and even released the other driver. I did everything wrong and you can imagine the grief I got when I told my fellow young lawyers at the firm. ... Don't be like me. Call the police after an accident. Get a report made. See a doctor. And whatever you do, don't hand write and sign your own settlement papers.

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