5 Things the Insurance Companies Don’t Want You to Know
Getting into an accident can be a scary and confusing time. Most people know to call the police if they’re involved in a crash. Most people also know to call their insurance company or to call the other driver’s insurance company. Then comes the big question: Should you hire an attorney? Hiring an attorney is useful because an attorney can help you navigate the claims process and respond to the things that the insurance adjuster doesn’t want you to know:
1. Hiring an attorney = higher settlement. If you immediately call the insurance company after an accident, the adjuster may discourage you from talking to an attorney. Some adjusters may go so far as to say mean things about personal injury attorney to dissuade you from hiring someone to represent you. Adjusters say these things to save the insurance companies money. When an attorney represents you, that attorney will fight the insurance company to get more money in your pocket. Side note: ALL insurance companies have attorneys on staff. If an adjuster tells you that you don’t need a lawyer, ask how many lawyers work in their company!
2. If an insurance company refers you to a doctor be prepared to for that doctor to minimize your injuries. The insurance company doctors will purposefully downplay your injuries, blame your injuries on pre-existing conditions, and do whatever they can to discredit your story to save money for the insurance company. If this happens to you, all is not lost. You can get a second opinion from a doctor of your choosing.
3. Insurance adjusters follow a protocol called The Three Ds:
• If you’re unrepresented, the adjuster will Delay handling your claim for as long as possible;
• Then the adjuster will Deny that you were hurt or that the accident caused your injury; and
• Then the adjuster will Defend their decision to undervalue your claim, sometimes relying upon the opinions of the doctors they referred you to.
4. You can fight against the adjuster with a “D” of your own—Documentation! Take pictures of EVERYTHING: The damage to your car, the damage to the other car(s), visible injuries to yourself or your passengers, the scene of the accident, witnesses, the responding officer’s business card, cars parked on the side of the road near the scene, everything!
5. Any document that you sign from the insurance company or anything that you say to an insurance adjuster can and will be used against you. Adjusters will ask you to make a recorded statement. They do this to get you to say that you weren’t that hurt or that the accident was your fault. Adjusters will also ask you to sign off to allow the insurance company to have access to all of your medical records. Then the adjuster will use your records against you and justify their decision to pay you a small settlement.
If you’re involved in an accident, the attorneys at Christina Pendleton & Associates can defend you against the defense adjuster’s tactics, some of which are explained above. Give us a call at (804) 250-5050