Beware of Car Insurance Adjusters
Often after a car accident, an insurance claims adjuster will attempt to settle the case as quickly and as inexpensively as possible. If you are the victim in the accident and you have been hit by another vehicle, there are some tips that you should know in order to avoid being taken advantage of by insurance companies.
First and foremost in the case of an accident, you will most likely receive a phone call or even a visit from a claims adjuster within 24 to 48 hours following the accident. It is very important that you avoid speaking to the adjuster until after speaking with an attorney. You should also speak to an attorney if possible before giving a statement to your own insurance company. Certainly do not accept any checks or sign any documents without legal assistance.
Too often insurance companies attempt to talk you into a settlement of your claim as soon as possible which allows them to minimize their exposure surrounding the accident and avoid paying more than they actually should. Claims adjusters will sometimes show up unannounced to your home and offer a check on the spot with the hope of settling immediately. If the victim accepts the check, signs the paperwork, it becomes difficult to set aside the settlement unless done promptly. However, in so many cases, the accident caused far worse damage than the adjuster leads you to believe, and the victim deserves much more money for the damage that was caused.
Another thing to consider when deciding whether to settle a claim early or without an attorney is that certain injuries from accidents might not appear right away, and the various symptoms and pains could take longer to present such as headaches, vision problems, disc involvement, neurological injuries and whiplash- just to name a few. Some of these medical problems can take weeks, months, or even years to develop and/or resolve. Insurance companies try to avoid long term problems by offering settlement money immediately. Again, this is a way for them to save money since the problem can still persist for a long time after the accident happens.
A victim does not ask for an accident to happen. He or she should not be responsible for the medical expenses that could result months after the accident. Fast settlements rarely take into consideration the actual pain and suffering a person endures.
Another method of avoiding fair payments is when an adjuster refers you to one of their preferred repair shops for your vehicle. Often this repair shop already has a relationship with the adjuster and they will work with the adjuster over you when it comes to the cost of the repairs and what is or is not related to the accident. Instead of going to the repair shop that the adjuster recommends, an accident victim should go to a repair shop of their own choosing.
If your vehicle is a total loss, the adjuster may try to give you less than fair market value for the vehicle. The Law Firm of Foran & Foran, P.A. can provide you with actual values that your vehicle is worth. You are also entitled to repayment of taxes and tags for a total loss. Although you will only get what your car is worth, most consumers do not know what that figure might be.
It is important to remember that after being involved in an accident, it is difficult to think clearly due to the emotions, fear, physical injury and pain that you have encountered. Within the first 24 to 48 hours, it might even be difficult to discuss the accident at all.
Insurance claims adjusters are very skilled at taking advantage of people just involved in an accident. The questions an adjuster may ask you may well be intended to set up a defense to your claim entirely or to weaken your claim to the extent possible. Their questions are also geared towards answering a question in a way that places some of the blame on you. For instance, they might ask if you think that the weather may have affected the road conditions, or they might ask you how you think you could have avoided the crash. They may also ask you about any previous injuries or medical conditions that you may have had prior to the accident so that they can reduce the value of your claim because of the pre-existing condition. Regardless of how you answer, the adjuster is trained to get you to admit at least partial fault in the happening of the accident.
As a result of the difference in training in these accident cases, it is wise for you to always discuss your claim with an attorney before you ever talk to an insurance adjuster. An attorney can guide you on how to deal with the claims adjuster, and the attorney will assist you in attaining the full compensation that you deserve. The bottom line is that you need to be as non-specific as possible and do not say anything that an adjuster may be able to twist at a later time to suggest you were partially at fault.
Overall, it is imperative for any person involved in an accident to not speak too soon. Do not be rushed to speak to the other party regarding what took place. Do not give away too much information. Do not apologize right away. Be very careful with what you say to medical personnel and police officers at the scene since they will also speak to claims adjusters in some cases.
If you have been involved in an accident and you need assistance, please call the law offices of Foran and Foran, P.A. to guide you in the right direction, to handle the insurance claims adjusters, and to attain for you the fair compensation that you deserve.
The legal information on this site is not intended to be legal advice. Contact one of our experienced personal injury attorneys or lawyers today to get specific information and answers for your specific situation.