What Insurance Representatives Tell Accident Victims From What They Really Mean
Whether you are a pedestrian hit by a car while properly crossing the roadway with the “walk” sign activated or a driver who is hurt when another motorist rearends your vehicle, your accident typically will mean dealing with insurance companies. Many representatives from insurance companies seem friendly and even helpful, but their role is to acquire information that allows the insurers to deny claims or pay the smallest settlement possible. Remember: the insurance adjusters are not your friend.
Our attorneys often hear from people after they have attempted to deal directly with the other motorist’s insurance company. This approach rarely goes well, so these frustrated individuals contact us for help. The better practice is to seek legal advice as soon as possible after your accident so that you do not inadvertently undermine your rights or compromise the value of your claim. Insurance company representatives frequently say one thing but mean another. We have provided a few examples below that illustrate why letting an experienced personal injury attorney deal with an insurer can be best approach to handling your claim.
What Insurance Companies Say: “We would like to schedule a recorded interview, so we can assess your claim.”
What Insurance Companies Mean: “We need information that will help us to deny your claim or lowball what we pay you, so we would like speak with you without legal representation and record the conversation.”
Insurance company representatives are not searching for the “truth” regarding who was at fault in your accident or even the nature of your injuries. The sole objective of the insurance company for a negligent driver is to find a way to avoid paying the claim or pay you as little as a possible. A recorded statement can help the insurance company in achieving this goal by eliciting facts that permit the insurer to claim you were at fault at least to a certain extent. Depending on the information you provide, the insurance company might even contend that you were entirely to blame for the collision and your resulting injuries. Even if you avoid saying anything that might damage your case, the insurance company could induce you into a statement that is inconsistent with other statements you provide before or after the recorded interview. These contradictions might later be used to attack your credibility. The request for an interview will often come within a few days after the collision because the insurer wants to conduct the interview before you have the benefit of legal advice and representation.
What Insurance Companies Say: "You do not need an attorney for us to settle your claim."
What Insurance Companies Mean: "We would prefer for you to handle this yourself because we will have a big advantage if you do not have an experienced personal injury attorney representing you."
Discussion: The insurance company knows that the average car accident victim has no legal training, little experience with the civil litigation process, limited knowledge of the law, and comparatively minimal financial resources to engage in litigation. When an unrepresented party elects to take on a large insurance company, the matchup is comparable to David and Goliath. Insurance companies process thousands of claims each year backed by a team of insurance defense attorneys, adjusters, investigators, experts with many areas of specialized knowledge, and vast financial resources.
What Insurance Companies Say: You will end up putting more money in your pocket if you do not hire an attorney because you will avoid all those attorney fees.
What Insurance Companies Say: Since there was no vehicle damage, you could not have suffered any sort of serious injury.
What Insurance Companies Mean: Although you can experience serious injuries even when vehicles incur little or no property damage, this will be a lot cheaper for us if your recovery is limited to property damage.
Discussion: Insurance companies love to use the term “low impact collision”. The theory is that if your vehicle did not get hit hard enough to exhibit significant damage, you could not have suffered serious injury. This claim ignores the fact that vehicles are protected by steel bumpers designed to withstand the force of impact from another vehicle. The human body is not designed to withstand the trauma associated with thousands of pounds of steel even at a low rate of speed. The insurance company recognizes that any recovery limited to property damage will mean a relatively meager payout compared to an injury claim involving injuries, so adjusters may try to convince you that you do not have a bodily injury claim when you actually do.
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If you have been injured by any type of accident caused by someone else's negligence, call Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law for your free consultation today. Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law has been representing those who suffer serious injuries for over 37 years.
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