Protecting Your Personal Injury Case
Contrary to popular belief, your insurance company is not always your friend in a personal injury case. In fact, your insurance company has its own interest in your personal injury case. Your insurance company is interested in keeping its profits. This means that the insurance company wants to pay as little as possible to you, the personal injury claimant. Everything the insurance company does is motivated by the desire to reduce your personal injury recovery, and not necessarily by the desire to help you recover. It is not always easy to see behind this behavioral smokescreen. Fortunately, your accident attorney is there to help protect you against actions by the insurance company that may be opposite to your own interest in a healthy recovery for your personal injury.
How Insurance Companies Try To Limit Your Recovery
The main interest of the insurance company in your personal injury case is to avoid or minimize the amount of payment the insurer must make for your personal injury claim. This may come as a surprise to most personal injury victims. Most personal injury claimants will call their insurer after the accident and find the representative helpful and friendly. However, this surface charm cannot disguise the fact that while you want as much compensation as possible for your personal injury claim, the insurance company would rather not pay. Insurance companies would like claimants to settle quickly, because quick settlements early on in the personal injury case often are cheaper. For example, early on, personal injury victims have not had much opportunity to consult with their accident attorney. They may not fully know the extent of their personal injury and of their medical bills, lost work time, and disability. Some of the tactics that insurance companies use against personal injury claimants can seem shocking. These tactics can include:
- ‘Sweet-talking’ the personal injury claimant on the phone, and making an early but cheap settlement seem easy and fair.
- Trying to get the personal injury claimant to admit fault for the personal injury.
- Minimizing the duration of the personal injury victim’s disability, or the victim’s need for ongoing medical or psychological care.
- Using a soothing, friendly approach aimed at getting the personal injury victim to drop his or her guard, trust the insurer, and sign away his or her rights.
- Making small talk that is essentially a ploy to get the personal injury victim to understate the extent of his or her personal injury for the record.
- Trying to delay the personal injury victim from consulting with an accident attorney or filing a legal claim.
- Trying to get the personal injury claimant to sign forms that compromise his or her claim.
- Suggesting that a conversation about the personal injury is “off the record,” whereas in fact the insurance adjuster is taking notes that may harm the claimant.
All of these tactics are aimed to damage the claimant’s case, and thus diminish the insurance company’s obligation to pay on your claim. But any verbal promises the insurance company makes concerning your personal injury case are worthless. An experienced accident lawyer knows that the insurance company’s interest is adverse to yours. Your accident lawyer can point out the insurance company’s tactics and guide you accordingly. By working closely with your accident attorney, you will better understand the insurance company’s hidden agenda.
Work Closely with your Accident Attorney on Insurance Matters
It may be tempting to try to solve your personal injury claim on your own, especially when the insurance company is being so “nice” about trying to “help” you. However, this can harm your potential recovery for personal injury. Always involve your accident lawyer in any discussions or negotiations you may have with the insurance company about your case. An experienced injury lawyer not only knows all the tricks the insurance company could use against you, but also can help build up your case while the insurer is trying to tear it down. For example, the insurance adjuster may be trying to elicit information from you about your contribution to your personal injury. This could harm your case at trial. The adjuster who uses trick questions is trying to deny or underpay your personal injury claim. Your injury attorney can advise you ahead of time about the kinds of questions the adjuster may ask about your role in the accident. This way you will not be intimidated, confused, or misled by the insurance company’s tactics. When dealing with the insurance company on your personal injury claim, follow your injury attorney’s advice. Protect your personal injury case by understanding that insurance adjusters ask trick questions, and are not trying to help you. Instead, they are trying to save money by damaging your case. Especially beware of offers by the insurance company to settle your personal injury claim without involving your accident attorney. Remember that an experienced accident lawyer knows how to negotiate a settlement, and will consult with you to help you obtain the highest possible compensation.
Talk to your accident attorney about your personal injury situation. An experienced accident lawyer can guide you from the very beginning to obtain the best possible compensation for your case.