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Lists are popular at the end of the year. Sometimes lists celebrate accomplishments. Other times they record dubious achievements. This one itemizes key advice for personal injury victims:

1. Politely refuse to give recorded statements to adjusters before retaining counsel.

2. Take photographs of visible injuries before they heal.

3. Take photographs of property damage before it’s repaired.

4. Seek medical attention as soon as possible after an accident.

5. Understand that the opposing insurance adjuster is concerned about one thing: settling the claim for as little money as possible.

6. Don’t believe the “frivolous lawsuit” myth. People who are not injured are not getting huge sums of money.

7. Put your UIM carrier on notice of an injury as soon as possible–even if you “think” the at-fault driver has sufficient coverage. Some states have UIM notice provisions giving injured people only 60 days to contact their insurance carrier.

8. Make sure–before you’re in an accident–that you have enough PIP and UIM coverage. What’s enough? The most your insurance carrier will let you purchase. Make sure to get umbrella coverage too that supplements not only liability insurance but UIM too.

9. Tell your lawyer about all of your prior neck and back problems. The other side will find out about it and it’s not nearly as big a deal if dealt with up front early on rather than much later.

10. Even though Washington has a three year statute for negligence claims, don’t wait until three years has almost passed before hiring an attorney. Memories fade and the passage of time may make it impossible to serve the defendant.

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