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After you report an accident in which you were injured, one of the first calls you will get will be from the defendant’s insurance company. If their client is found to be at fault for the accident, the insurance company will be responsible for paying for your damages and injuries. Needless to say, the insurance company is hoping your injuries are minimal since they will have to foot the bill.
After you have been injured in an auto accident, the insurance company will try to get you to say and do some things that will downplay your injuries and minimize the compensation you receive. Do not let them intimidate you, and never take their word as fact. Instead, seek the help of an experienced personal injury attorney to fight for your rights.
Here are 5 things insurance companies don’t want you to know:
- The insurance company will try to settle your case with an offer that is way under value. The insurance company’s job is to settle your claim as quickly and cheaply as possible. In most personal injury cases, they will present you an initial offer that is far lower than your claim is worth. The reality is that without legal representation, these insurance adjusters are unlikely to take your case very seriously. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you determine whether the insurance company is lowballing you. They will also help you decide what actions to take to get a better settlement. Essentially, it is almost never advisable to accept the first offer the insurance company throws your way.
- The insurance adjuster is not on your side. The adjuster might seem like the nicest person in the world, but remember that he is not there to represent your interests. He represents the insurance company, which is looking to settle the claim for as little as possible. Do not take advice from the insurance adjuster, and don’t believe everything he says. While he might not outright lie to you, he probably won’t tell you the whole truth. For instance, you can still hire a personal injury attorney even after you speak to the insurance company, as long as you haven’t settled the case. The insurance adjuster is unlikely to tell you this information. He might also tell you it isn’t worth it to hire a personal injury attorney for your case. Additionally, he might say your case is not worth more than the insurance company is offering you. When in doubt, do not take his word as fact and double check anything he tells you with an experienced attorney. Better yet, let your attorney handle communications with the insurance company as early on in the process as possible.
- A recorded statement given to the insurance company could be detrimental to your case. Oftentimes, the defendant’s insurance company will ask you to give a recorded statement about the accident. The statement would include details such as the injuries you suffered, medical treatment you received, and damages your vehicle sustained. Although it might seem like sharing this information could help your case, anything you say can be used against you. The insurance company can easily take your words out of context. They could make it sound like you admitted contributing to the accident, even if that’s not what you meant. If the defendant’s insurance company asks for a recorded statement, never agree to do it without your attorney present. Your attorney will be able to help you navigate the questions so you don’t fall into into any traps.
- The insurance company might try to use your past medical history against you. If you have pre-existing injuries or health problems that occurred before your accident, the insurance company’s attorneys will likely try to claim that your current injuries stem from a prior problem, not the accident. If the insurance company asks for access to your medical records, let your attorney handle it. The insurance company is entitled to see the medical records from your accident. However, there is no need to let them see your entire medical history. Unless a judge deems it relevant to give the insurance company access to all your medical records, your attorney will be able to limit access to those records that resulted from your accident.
- Having a thorough medical examination and reporting all your injuries can help your case. But it will hurt the insurance company’s, so they won’t tell you this. The adjuster might tell you it isn’t important for you to go to the doctor if your injuries are minor. This is totally untrue. You should visit the doctor as soon as possible after your accident. At your examination, be sure to mention everything that hurts—even something that seems minor. It often takes days or even weeks for an injury to start really hurting. Thus, it’s important not to downplay anything painful.
Insurance adjusters are trained to negotiate and settle claims for as little as possible. They do this everyday, so they are experts at downplaying a serious situation and convincing victims to settle quickly. It might be tempting to take their offer, avoid having to hire an attorney and enter the legal process. However, you will almost certainly miss out on the appropriate compensation for your injuries if you choose a hasty settlement.
“If your are hurt in an accident, the insurance company will try their best to settle your case for a fraction of what it’s worth. Instead of rushing into a settlement, call a trusted personal injury attorney to review your case and represent your interests,” said Attorney Walter Clark, founder of Walter Clark Legal Group.
Our firm has been handling personal injury cases throughout the California Low Desert and High Desert communities for over 30 years. With a 95% success rate, the California personal injury attorneys at Walter Clark Legal Group will fight to hold those responsible for your loss accountable and win compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you have been injured in an auto accident and want to discuss your legal options, contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer. We have offices in Indio, Rancho Mirage, Victorville, and Yucca Valley and represent clients through the entire California Low Desert and High Desert communities.
DISCLAIMER: The Walter Clark Legal Group blog is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal or medical advice. References to laws are based on general legal practices and vary by location. Information reported comes from secondary news sources. We do handle these types of cases, but whether or not the individuals and/or loved ones involved in these accidents choose to be represented by a law firm is a personal choice we respect. Should you find any of the information incorrect, we welcome you to contact us with corrections.