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Don't Believe Everything Your Told By An Insurance Adjuster

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Insurance adjusters are not on your side.   Never.  Ever.   In fact, the larger your personal injury claim shapes up to be, the nicer they will be to you.  They'll be helpful and fair, until money is discussed. When significant dollar amounts are involved, adjusters will also try to discourage you from hiring an attorney.   Remember, they work for the insurance company and they want to keep their money...not pay you!

Many times an accident victim will believe an adjuster who tells them things like “we accept responsibility” and that they insurance company will pay them a fair restitution.   However, you need to remember that accepting responsibility does not mean giving you a fair and reasonable settlement offer.  it's only after the adjuster actually discusses compensation that the injury victim KNOWS that they need an attorney. The problem is that this usually happens many months after the accident and things that should have been done to document the claim, were not.  Without timely accident photos and documentation by witnesses, emergency services, doctors and others, it can be hard to prove your case for a just compensation.   Insurance companies know this which is why they don't want attornies involved when you have an accident.  If they can get you to sign a hasty settlement or drag out the matter, they can save themselves money and likely cost you thousands of dollars in compensation. 

Before you discuss your accident with an insurance adjusters, you need to speak to an attorney.   After most accidents, an adjuster  will want to take recorded statements from an injury victim as soon as possible. Some may even suggest they cannot process a claim UNLESS you give a statement.  Don't fall for that argument, because what you say to them can cost you.  Insurance adjusters have been trained in how to take statements from personal injury victims. For instance, a question such as “when did you first see the other vehicle” is a loaded question because it assumes that you saw the other victim vehicle prior to impact.  With an experienced attorney, you can avoid legal pitfalls and preserve your rights to full compensation.  

Insurance companies may also try to reduce the value of your claim using a number of tactics.  They may tell you that there is little value to the claim, that proving the medical impact of the accident is problematic or that you are partly or completely to blame.  Through clever questioning and manipulation, you may find yourself being listed as the person at fault when, in reality, you had no blame in the accident whatsoever!

When it comes to settlements, avoid these common traps:

  • Quick settlements
  • Estimated future medical settlements
  • Pressured settlements
  • Pre-diagnosis settlements
  • Disregarding medical liens

Some adjusters attempt to pressure a personal injury victim into settling early often before a clear diagnosis has been made on the injuries. Many a victim has fallen prey to this tactic and the consequences can be severe as the risk of a serious injury shifts from the insurance carrier to the victim.  It is a bad idea to settle before you know the extent of your injuries. Insurance companies do not pay medical bills while they are ongoing and attempts to entice you into a quick settlement, so you can pay your medical bills is almost always a bad way to go.

Quick settlement offers seek to close the file early and estimate medical expenses that may be incurred. Unfortunately, the insurance company also requires a full release of liability and if the damages turn out to be more serious or the medical bills were excessive, the innocent victim is left holding the bag with no real recourse.

Delay in seeking medical treatment can also be very damaging to a personal injury claim. The longer you wait for medical treatment and large gaps in the treatment will make the potential for settling your case out of court much harder. And long delays between treatment can also make it very much more difficult to recover money from a jury.  if you cannot afford needed treatment, speak with your doctor about options or talk with a personal injury lawyer about funding options for ongoing medical bills.

Reputable personal injury attorneys offer free consultations to personal injury victims. Whether you hire an attorney or are considering handling a car accident claim yourself, taking advantage of a free consultation is a good idea and there is not a downside to taking advantage of it.   
 
Injury claims include more than just negotiating a number with the insurance company. The more serious your injuries and the larger your medical bills, the more likely it is that you will need a personal injury attorney to assist you. If you have health insurance, your health insurance company probably will have their hand out and want to be paid back for the medical bills they paid.

If your hospital bill hasn’t been paid there probably is a hospital lien that will take the first money out of any settlement. Retaining an experienced and successful personal injury attorney for a more serious injury is key.  When you hire a lawyer to handle your case, tell them everything and let the attorney do the talking for you. Do not make the mistake of thinking keeping something from your lawyer will help you, it will not and will hurt or kill your claim if your lawyer is unaware of the facts.
 
If you or a loved one has been in an accident, call our offices!   We'll discuss your situation with you at no charge and help you determine if legal representation is right for you.  For over 40 years we have been helping our clients get the justice and compensation they deserve.  We will fight for you!