If you have been injured in an automobile collision and do not have an attorney representing you for your injury claim, you are already at a disadvantage when dealing with insurance claims adjusters. Insurance claims adjusters will do everything they can to take advantage of the fact that you are not represented by an attorney, and often rush to get their file closed as quickly as possible. Adjusters may even tell you NOT to get an attorney or that you do not need an attorney.
Insurance companies know that claim payouts are typically higher for people who use attorneys. This means bigger settlements and payouts from the insurance companies for those individuals who have representation, which adjusters may try to avoid at all cost.
Once a claim is reported to an insurance company it is assigned to a “Liability adjuster,” within the insurance company. The liability adjuster or “claims adjuster” are individuals hired by the insurance company to investigate your claim. One of the first things claims adjusters do is attempt to determine liability, or who is “at-fault” for the collision. Obviously, it is in the adjuster best interest to find that their insured is not at-fault, if they have a reasonable basis to do so.
Adjusters typically evaluate fault by obtaining a copy of the police report and then by contacting both you and their insured. If they accept liability on behalf of their insured, they will then handle your property damage (damage to your vehicle) and bodily injury claims, or refer you to the specific adjuster who will be handling those claims if it is a different adjuster. If they deny liability and claim you are at fault, this means they will not pay any amount of damages related to your claim, whether for the property damage or the bodily injury. If a claims adjuster denies your claim in writing, your only option may be to file suit against their insured. An insurance claim adjuster may also find that you are a “percentage” at fault, and only agree to pay a certain percentage of your damages.
Most people don’t have a lot of experience dealing with insurance adjusters or the claim process, and you may find yourself being in this situation for the very first time. There are many considerations to keep in mind when dealing with insurance adjusters. Some of the tactics that insurance claims adjuster often use include:
Insurance adjusters will want to get your recorded statement as soon as possible, hoping that they can record you before you can get a lawyer involved. They often use tricky questions and attempt to use your own words against you, which could result in a total denial of your claim. They will also ask you about your injuries and any prior injuries or accidents you have been involved in.
The truth is, you do not know the full extent of your own injuries and you can not give a medical opinion about them. Also, most people typically have the tendency to downplay their injuries or pain to others, which can also harm your case. If you do a recorded statement immediately after the collision, and say that you are uninjured or do not include all of your injuries, the insurance company may try to use that against you in the future.
At Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers, we never allow recorded statements regarding injuries or medical treatment. If a claims adjuster requests a valid recorded statement, we consult with our clients beforehand and insist that we be present/included for the recording so we can stop the adjusters from asking anything that we do not want them to ask. Our experienced accident injury attorneys will be there to guide you every step of the way.
Insurance adjusters will often rush to have you sign a blanket medical authorization, which allows them to not only get your wreck-related medical records, but any of your medical records that they want. Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers rarely, if ever, allows our clients to sign a blank medical authorization to give to the insurance company. If adjusters are able to request all of your medical records, they may argue that your injuries are pre-existing, even if they are unrelated past injuries. This may drastically affect your case and ability to recover damages.
The experienced attorneys at Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers obtain medical record and bills on your behalf, with our own medical authorization that we have you sign, instead of handing one over to the insurance companies. Giving a claims adjuster a signed medical authorization will often cause delays, because they typically do not follow up regularly on the request like we do. Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers has a dedicated, experienced staff who deals with medical request daily for our clients.
The truth is, people are generally not happy with the property damage portion of their claim. Whether its your own insurance, or the at-fault parties insurance, if your vehicle is deemed a “total loss” the insurance companies are only obligated to provide the “fair replacement value” of the vehicle at issue.
This is often calculated by running “Comp reports” of the same make, model, and similar mileage of your vehicle, and find similar vehicles in the local area. Insurance companies then average the top three or four vehicles to come to a specific number, and make an offer on the property damage. If there is not a lot of wiggle room in the “fair replacement value” then an adjuster may increase the value on the property damage claim if you will sign a waiver for the bodily injury claim, or accept a low amount like $500 or $1,000 for the injury claim.
Never accept a small amount for a release of your injury claim without speaking to an experienced automobile accident injury attorney like the ones at Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers. If you a sign a release on the bodily injury, you are likely forever barred from ever settling a claim or filing suit. This is particularly dangerous as you may not even know the extent of your injuries until much later.
As discussed above, once the insurance company gets you to sign a release, your claim and ability to sue is forever barred. Often times, insurance companies will immediately offer you a small amount to see if you will settle your claim before receiving any, or any additional, medical treatment. The truth is, the extent of your injuries may be unknown for days, weeks, or even months.
It is not uncommon for someone to continue to have aggravating symptoms from an injury, only to find weeks later that an MRI shows they have a fracture, torn ligament, or bulging disc. If an insurance claims adjuster rushes you into signing a release within days of the collision, they likely have saved their insurance company thousands of dollars, to your detriment. If you are unsure what to do, call our experienced Accident Injury Attorneys at Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers immediately.
Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers deals with adjusters from all over the country, with dozens of insurance companies. Larger insurance companies have hundreds or even thousands of adjusters on their staff, and some can be more generous than others. The experienced accident injury attorneys at Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers keep ongoing notes on adjusters regarding typical settlement amounts, first offers, and negotiation tactics the insurance adjusters may use. This provides significant insight on what we can expect a claims adjuster will offer or pay out on a claim. Many insurance companies have local claims adjusters that our firm deals with on a regular basis. Dealing with these adjusters often gives our attorneys particular insight in how that adjuster will value the claim for settlement.
At Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers, our experienced attorneys have over 46 years of experience fighting for our clients. If you or a loved one has been injured in an automobile collision, call Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers immediately at 888-782-9090 for a free consultation. Don’t let insurance claims adjusters take advantage of you during a vulnerable time, contact Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers today.