Insurance Hardball: The Insurance Adjuster
Most of us pay monthly premiums on our homes and vehicles with the hope that when we are involved in an accident or are involved in a traumatic incident, the insurance company will help us get back on our feet. You may have basic coverage, or pay additional fees for extra features such as gap insurance. However, insurance companies have proven time and again that they are not our friends, but average corporations whose primary goal is to protect their bottom line.
If you are getting ready to file a claim for compensation in your car accident case, it is important for you know and understand that your insurance company is going to play hardball with you. They have trained adjusters whose job it is to ensure that the payout is minimal. Often, seriously injured victims need the help and firepower of experienced personal injury lawyers who can help them get fairly and fully compensated for their losses.
Before You Make the Call
If you have been hurt in a car accident, it is important that you notify your insurance company right away. You may want to prepare yourself, however, before calling the insurance company. Before making that call, you should write down how the accident occurred and gather your notes that have all the important details such as location of the crash, parties involved and damage to the vehicles. Refer to these notes throughout the phone call. Answering questions concisely and consistently will help your claim. If you fail to answer the questions carefully and end up contradicting yourself, your claim could potentially be denied.
The best approach to take if you have been seriously injured is to refrain from talking to the insurance companies. Let your lawyer do that for you. This strategy will help ensure that you don't provide insurance companies access to your private medical or financial information. It will also help you avoid other missteps that could jeopardize your claim. Above all, it will give you the time, space and peace of mind you need at this time to make a quick and full recovery.
Understand Your Rights
One of the first things that the insurance company will ask you is if you give your consent to be recorded. You have nothing to gain by allowing them to record the conversation. They will only use the recording to listen for reasons to deny your claim. You have the right to tell the insurance company not to record the conversation. Furthermore, you do not have to answer any questions that you do not feel comfortable answering. If at any time during the conversation you are worried about your answers, you can decline to comment until you have spoken to an attorney.
More Negotiation Tips
After recovering from your injuries and obtaining the documents you need, you will need to start negotiating with the insurance company of the at-fault party. You should gather a copy of the police report, witness statements, photographs of the crash site, records of your medical treatment and your bills. Having an inadequate amount of evidence to back up your claim will hurt your chances of receiving fair compensation. It can also hurt the value of your claim to ask for too little. Understand what your claim may be worth and ask for more than you need so that you have more leverage.
Playing Hard Ball
According to a CNN news report, many insurance adjusters use a strategy developed in the mid-1990s by McKinsey & Co. to increase their profits. The theme of the strategy is to "deny, delay, and defend." Insurance adjusters regularly deny claims, delay the settlement of the claim and defend against the claim in court when necessary. In general, they hope that the claimant will give up and either drop the claim or accept a much smaller settlement - often much less than what the claim is really worth. The goal is to make the claim process so expensive and time consuming in order to discourage claimants.
You Can Fight Back
You do not have to give in to the tactics of ruthless insurance companies. You can appeal their decisions, refuse their offers and sue them when you are mistreated or when insurance companies have acted in bad faith. Before making any legal decisions, it is important to learn about your options and to seek guidance when you have questions. The initial consultation with an experienced car accident attorney is completely free. So, you have absolutely nothing to lose.
Knowing What to Ask
Knowledge is power. So do not be afraid to ask questions about your potential claim. Questions to consider asking an attorney should include:
- Do I have a valid claim?
- What is the potential value of my claim?
- What types of damages should I include in my claim?
- How long will the claim process take?
- Will I need to go to court?
- What questions will the insurance company ask me?
- What evidence will I need to prove my case?
- How much time do I have to file a claim before my statute of limitations runs out?
Experienced Lawyers Can Help
It is important to know how much your claim is worth, so that you know when you are being treated unfairly. If you have been hurt in a slip-and-fall accident, a car crash or as the direct result of someone else's negligence, you may seek support for all of your losses. For example, you can request compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, loss of earning potential, physical pain, mental anguish, the cost of rehabilitation services and other related damages.
The experienced California personal injury lawyers have a long track record of playing hardball with insurance companies - and succeeding. We know what it takes to win these cases against insurance companies. Our attorneys are tenacious and skilled negotiators who take their "A game" to the table each and every time. We know the strategies and tricks insurance companies commonly use to avoid paying you what you deserve to get. Our job is to make sure that you receive just compensation for all your losses. We will not rest until that happens. Please contact us at 949-203-3814 to find out how we can help you. Consultations and case evaluations are absolutely free.
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