Unless you have been in an accident, you’ve probably had little opportunity to deal with an insurance adjuster. As long as you pay your premiums on time, you feel you have a good working relationship with your insurance company. That can change drastically, however, when it comes time to make a claim.
It’s important to always keep in mind that an insurance company is in business to make a profit. They are not necessarily your friend when it comes to paying a claim. Often, they are going to try and pay the lowest amount possible to you to make you go away.
Here are 5 important things to keep in mind when dealing with insurance companies:
Insurance Companies Don’t Want You to Hire a Lawyer
When dealing with an insurance adjuster, you may get the distinct impression that it will not be necessary to hire a lawyer. They will tell you that it will only add to your expenses. They will tell you that you and the adjuster can reach a settlement. It is important to remember that they are not on your side. Even if they agree to settle a claim, it may be for far less than you might be owed. A good lawyer will help you identify all of the losses you are entitled to recover based on your insurance and the insurance of the wrongdoer who caused your injuries.
Quick Settlements Aren’t Necessarily a Good Thing
If your insurance company offers you a quick settlement, think twice before you accept it. It may be tempting to take a quick settlement so that you can move on with your life. Keep in mind, however, that if the insurance company is settling quickly, they know you have a valid claim. It may mean that you could get more if you wait and thoroughly explore your options. More importantly, you may not have a complete understanding of the full extent of your injuries, the cost of future medical treatment, or the amount of time the injury may cause you to miss from work. Once you have settled your case, you will not be able to ask the insurance company to cover losses you didn’t know about at the time you signed the settlement agreement. It pays to be patient and to carefully evaluate your injuries and losses.
Beware of the “Three Ds”
The three “Ds” for some insurance companies are delay, deny and defend. Some insurance companies will drag their feet hoping that you will lose interest and give up on pursuing a claim. They may also initially deny a claim for the same reason. They are hoping that you will take them at their word and go away. Should you continue to pursue your claim, they will vigorously defend their position. This is why it is so important to have a lawyer working on your behalf. The rules of the game change when a lawyer is involved, and you will have a strategic edge to cut through many of the ploys that can discourage a claimant from pursuing what is owed to them.
Recorded Statements Can Hurt You
After you contact your insurance company or the wrongdoer’s insurance company about your injury, they may ask for a recorded statement from you. Be wary of this. Right after an accident you may still be shaken and uncertain as to what exactly happened. Be aware that your statement can be used against you. It may be better to delay giving a statement until you have hired an attorney. Never give a statement while you are on heavy medication or if you are confused following a head injury.
They Hope You Don’t Have Documentation
The more evidence you have regarding your accident, the better your chances are of winning your claim. If you have pictures, receipts, journals, and medical reports, the insurance company is going to have a harder time claiming that you are not owed compensation.
After suffering a personal injury, dealing with an insurance company can be very tricky. It is important to consult an experienced and honest attorney for guidance. We will review the facts surrounding your case, and let you know if it is in your best interest to hire us. If so, we will create a plan of action moving forward. Don’t let the adjuster convince you that you can handle it yourself and save some money. This may not be the case. In fact, this line of reasoning could cost you more than you realize.