When you have been injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you should be aware that you have two insurance companies to deal with. There is the insurance company of the party who caused the accident, as well as your insurance company.
When it comes to your own insurance company, it is best to call them and inform them that you have been in an auto accident and to do so as soon as possible. Provide them with all factual information, including the location of the accident, the conditions of the road, the date and time of the accident and a list of the people involved. However, you don’t have to discuss any of the injuries you sustained; in fact, you shouldn’t do that until you have consulted with an experienced personal injury attorney. You should also not provide them with your explanation for why and how the accident happened until you have spoken with an attorney.
There is one other thing; never ever let any insurance company record a statement without speaking with your attorney first. Keep in mind, there are circumstances, such as in the case of an uninsured motorist claim, where you may have to deal with your own insurance company as the opposing insurance company, which means you have to give them the factual information, but nothing else. Your auto accident attorney will know this, which is why you should hire one early on.
Never Speak to the Other Driver’s Insurance Company
When it comes to speaking to the other driver’s insurance company, it may be helpful to know that you are never under obligation to speak to them, ever. And in most cases, you should not speak to them at all. You should never sign anything they give you without consulting with your attorney first.
If you want to know why you should never tell an insurance adjuster anything, it’s based on their tactics. And since the job of the insurance adjuster is always to limit payouts to the extent possible, it should be obvious why you should view their actions suspiciously. Here are some of the most common tactics used by insurance adjusters to get your attention and try to limit their payout.
They Will Make Immediate and Friendly Contact
One prime tactic used by adjusters to minimize the amount of your claim is to show up immediately; before you have had a chance to hire a lawyer. In most cases, the insurance adjuster’s claims manual instructed them to make early and friendly contact before you can get an attorney and before you even realize the extent of your injuries. They will be friendly, and they will convince you that you don’t need the expense of an attorney.
They will treat you like their best friend and offer what may seem like a lot of money, but you should know that their primary goal is to dissuade you from filing a claim against their client, the driver. Take a hint from that; if their main job is to limit your payout and they are trying to get you to sign on the dotted line immediately, your case must be pretty good. What they won’t tell you is, once they write a check and sign their claims documents, you’re finished. You can not file another claim later when you find out your injuries are more significant than they first appeared.
Remember; the insurance companies are not well known for their generosity. Their job is to resolve claims for as little as possible. That friendly conversation you have with the adjuster is basically them finding out what they can about you and your claim, so they can minimize or deny your claim. Since you don’t deal with this all of the time, don’t assume you can handle this. Find yourself an auto accident attorney who can help you through this.
They Will Always Try to Get You On the Record
Insurance adjusters are always trying to get a recorded statement and they want you to sign documents, whether you understand them or not. You should be aware, however, that any conversation you have with the adjusters from the other driver’s insurance company can put your claim in jeopardy, especially with a recorded statement. Insurance adjusters have a tendency to ask leading questions designed to put their client in the best light. Keep in mind, while you probably have never given a recorded statement, but assured that an experienced insurance adjuster has taken hundreds of them.
Insurance Adjusters Do Not Want You to Hire an Attorney
According to studies, injured victims of accidents get at least two times and up to five times more money than those who handle their case without an attorney. Therefore, it’s natural that their ultimate goal is to make you feel comfortable enough to not need an attorney.
Insurance companies know they can pay you far less money if you don’t hire an experienced auto accident attorney. That is why they contact you almost immediately. They hope you’ll sign a settlement and give up your right to sue before you have even had a chance to speak to a lawyer and before you know what your rights are. They will try to convince you that lawyers cost money and that they will take it out of your settlement. What they won’t tell you is, the settlement will be far higher with an attorney, and you will recover everything you need to get your life back.