Things You Should Know Before You Talk to the Insurance Adjuster
Being involved in an automobile accident can be a very unnerving experience, at a minimum. Even if your accident is only a minor bump-in in the parking lot, you will likely be left feeling shaken up. If you have been in a more serious auto accident, those feelings will go way up the emotional scale. Then there is the aftermath of your accident—the time when you have to deal with injuries and doctor visits, meeting the costs of daily living while you are off work, taking care of your family, worrying about whether your job will still be there for you when you have healed, and dealing with insurance companies and adjusters.
Many people are typically so overwhelmed by what follows their accident that when the adjuster calls soon after the accident with a settlement offer, they accept, even knowing the offer is low and will not cover their bills. They accept because they think that acceptance will put an end to a portion of their misery, and they will be able to go forward with their lives, paying at least some of the mountain of medical bills covering the kitchen table. While this mindset is perfectly normal and understandable, if you are currently in this position resist the temptation to settle quickly with every ounce of strength you possess. If you understand the insurance "game," it will be much easier for you to hold out for the offer you truly deserve.
The First Offer You Receive Will Almost Certainly Be Low
Insurance adjusters work for an insurance company, and their job is to settle claims for the least amount of money possible, improving the bottom line of the company, and maybe even getting a bonus for saving money at the end of the year. Even if the first offer sounds like a lot of money to you, stop, take a deep breath, and have a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney. There may be many bills you are not taking into consideration which can leave you seriously short, financially.
The truth is, there are few accident victims who are fully aware of the value of their claim. A knowledgeable attorney can help you calculate immediate and future damages including loss of earning potential, the impact of your injury on your life as well as pain and suffering. Experienced personal injury attorneys have spent years and years dealing with insurance companies and adjusters and will be the strongest advocate you could have. Our law firm has been fighting for the rights of accident victims since 1984.
What You Say Now Can Minimize the Value of Your Claim
When the insurance adjuster calls, no matter how friendly and sympathetic he or she seems, be wary. Insurance adjusters are trained to get you to say things which can later be misconstrued, diminishing your ultimate settlement amount. Being well-intentioned, and trying to be cooperative with the other person's insurance company—or your own—can backfire in ways you cannot even imagine, so direct any calls to your attorney unless they advise you otherwise. You may also be surprised at how quickly you get a call from the insurance adjuster following your accident. This is a very calculated move on the part of the insurance companies. The idea is to contact the accident victim quickly, before all injuries and damages have been fully realized. Many injuries don't show up immediately following an accident, but can manifest days or weeks down the line. Another goal that an adjuster frequently has is to talk you out of hiring a personal injury attorney to represent your interests- because they want to be in the position of superior knowedge and experience so that they can pay you a lot less money.
What is a "Release and Waiver" Form?
Once you've reached a settlement with the insurance company, whether on your own or through an attorney, you will likely be asked to sign a Release and Waiver form which effectively prohibits you from filing any additional claims in the future, and giving up rights you might be entitled to. If you don't have an attorney—and you should—at least get an experienced personal injury attorney look over the form before you sign it. Be very cautious and think about your future when you are dealing with insurance settlements and adjusters.
At Montlick & Associates, our goal is for you to receive the compensation you deserve for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, permanent disability, and loss of enjoyment of life due to car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents and all other types of personal injury claims. Montlick & Associates has the experience and resources necessary to provide effective representation and get you the compensation you deserve. Our Atlanta personal injury attorneys are adept negotiators who have the training and experience to obtain the best possible results for your personal injury claim.
Put Our Law Firm's Over 35 Years of Legal Experience to Work For Your Case!
Our attorneys at Montlick and Associates have been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and in the Southeast for over thirty years, including but not limited to all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.
No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333).
You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.