Dealing with Insurance Companies After a Car Accident
If you have been in a car accident, you soon turn to an auto insurance company for assistance with your medical bills, vehicle damage and other losses that the crash caused. However, if you do not understand how insurance companies work, you may come away from the experience disappointed – to say the least.
You need to know that most insurance companies are for-profit businesses. The less an insurance company pays out in claims, the more it reaps in profits. So, in this sense, the insurance company is not working for you – even if it is your own insurer. The insurance claims adjuster has an obligation to its employer to pay as little as possible for your claim.
With that in mind, here are few things you should never do as you work with an insurance company on your car accident claim:
Never Admit Fault or Downplay Your Losses
Dealing with an insurance company is very much an “anything you say can be held against you” situation. The insurer will try to use any comment you make to argue that you were responsible for the accident or that you were not really injured (or as injured as you claim). For this reason, you should always answer an insurance claims adjuster’s questions honestly – but provide only basic information. Answers of “yes” and “no” are best. Don’t get into a conversation.
Consider this simple exchange:
Insurer: I see the accident was late in the evening. That must have made for a long day.
Injured driver: Yes, I was dead tired.
The insurance company may try to use the driver’s statement to contend that the driver’s fatigue contributed to the accident. In this sense, the better reply would have been, “Yes, it was late in the evening.”
Never Give a Recorded Statement
A claims adjuster may ask to record your conversation or later present a summary of your claim for you to approve and sign. You are not obligated to do either – and you should not do either one. Until you speak with a lawyer first, you should simply decline to give a recorded statement. Additionally, you should not give the insurance company permission to access your medical records. The insurer may try to use those records against you. For instance, the insurer may claim that you had a pre-existing injury.
Never Accept a Quick Settlement
Sometimes, an auto insurer will respond very quickly to a serious accident with a settlement offer that purports to cover all of a victim’s medical expenses, lost wages and car damage. However, the offer is based on things like past settlements offered to people with similar auto accident injuries. The offer is not payment for a person’s specific losses.
So, if you get a quick insurance settlement offer, it will likely fail to fully address all of your unique economic and non-economic damages. Typically, the offer will be for far less than what you deserve. This is why you need to be careful about signing a release or any other documents that an insurance company presents to you.
Get Help with Your Auto Insurance Claim in Florida
The easiest way to make sure your car accident claim is examined thoroughly and resolved fairly is to enlist the help of an experienced Florida car accident attorney. At Holliday Karatinos Law Firm, PLLC, we know how insurance companies operate. You can count on our legal team to protect your rights and pursue maximum compensation for you. If you don’t get paid, we don’t get paid. To learn more about how we can serve you in the North Tampa area, connect with us today.
Jim Holliday has recovered millions of dollars for his clients in restitution for their injuries.