If you’re seeking compensation after a car accident, you’ll most likely be dealing with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Insurance companies hire insurance adjusters to investigate a specific case and determine how much the claim is worth. They work for the insurance company, not the accident victim. As you may expect, the insurance adjuster’s objective is to keep the payouts as low as possible, while avoiding a lawsuit. Typically, adjusters decide on how much they are actually willing to pay out.
WARNING: Whatever you say to the insurer, however formally or informally, can be used against you in your personal injury case. Even a friendly response such as, “I’m fine Mrs. Smith, how are you?” can appear in a written report as “Victim says she is feeling fine.” Therefore, you should ALWAYS consult with a personal injury attorney prior to speaking with an insurance adjuster.
Here are five arguments an insurance adjuster will use to limit your car accident claim:
Exaggerated claims: If you are claiming injuries after an accident but did not seek medical attention, it’s easy for an insurance adjuster to assume that your claim is being exaggerated. While most insurance companies will not ask you to see a doctor to validate the claim, you should or offer to do so. This will tell the adjuster that your injury claim is legitimate and you are willing to allow them to “verify” the truthfulness of your personal injury claim.
Not obeying traffic laws: If you were not adhering to the traffic laws, such as wearing a seat belt, and were in an accident, your claim negotiations will be negatively impacted. The claims adjuster will say you were in violation of Florida’s seat belt law and that is what contributed to your injuries.
Unreliable information: An insurance company may claim that your recollection of times, speeds, distances is inaccurate, thus your credibility is questionable. Don’t let an insurance company interrogate you based on your memory of time, speed and/or distance. Details like this are often distorted in a victim’s mind due to the psychological trauma you may have experienced during and shortly after a crash. Always consult with a personal injury attorney if you’re unsure about these details.
Mechanical issues: The insurance adjuster might tell you the tires were worn; your brakes weren’t working; your tail lights were out; or your turn signal wasn’t working. In most instances, the only time a defect on your vehicle may affect the value of an injury claim is IF it was found to contribute to the cause of the accident.
Previous injuries: If you tell them that you injured your back at work 20 years ago, they may try to say this was just an aggravation of an old injury and assign a lesser value to your claim. It doesn’t matter if your back has been fine for the past 10 years.
Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
Unfortunately, when a personal injury claim is presented, the burden is on the injured victim to prove their case. The party allegedly responsible for the injury doesn’t usually have to prove anything at all. That’s why it’s important to consult with an experienced personal injury law firm like Hancock Injury Attorneys. We have fought with insurance companies for decades and we know what it takes to get you a fair settlement. Contact our office today for a free, no-obligation case review.