If someone else’s negligence causes your injuries in an accident, you likely want to file an insurance claim for compensation. However, you might not understand your basic rights and how to handle the process. Most accident victims believe the insurance adjuster is on their side and wants to offer a fair settlement. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
Insurance companies hire insurance adjusters to investigate accidents and determine fault. They review the circumstances and all available evidence to decide how much money the claimant should receive if anything at all. Their goal is to save money. If they can find a valid reason to deny someone’s claim, they will.
What that means is you should never communicate with the insurance company about the accident. It’s always best to hire an experienced lawyer to handle the claims process and to talk with the insurance company on your behalf.
Don’t Speculate About Details Regarding the Accident
You should always be polite to the adjuster but don’t offer information about the incident if you’re unsure of the facts. If you place blame against their insured, provide your opinion, or speculate about how the accident occurred, the insurance company could claim your version of events is made up, especially if you change your story later.
Only provide short answers to questions the adjuster asks. Never elaborate or expand upon the explanations you give. You’re under no legal obligation to answer questions, so politely decline if you don’t know what to say to avoid any statements that could negatively impact the outcome of your claim.
Don’t Admit Fault
Although the goal might be to settle with the insurance company, you might have to file a lawsuit down the road if they offer a low settlement amount or deny the claim entirely.
Texas is a proportionate responsibility state. That means if you file a lawsuit and the jury determines your actions contributed to your injury in any way, they could reduce your compensation by your percentage of shared fault.
Even the statements you make to the insurance adjuster could come back to haunt you later. The defense attorney can obtain copies of all documentation related to the initial claim. If they find evidence that you admitted partial fault, they could use that to diminish the value of your case.
Don’t Talk About Your Injuries
The adjuster will probably ask the type of injuries you suffered during the incident. You might think it’s a routine question. After all, they need to know how serious the injury is to determine what their settlement offer should be.
However, you should consider anything you say to the insurance company as legally binding. If you tell them you’re not in much pain, but a few days later, a doctor informs you that your injury is much worse than you thought, you likely won’t receive the compensation necessary to cover your ongoing medical treatment.
Don’t Agree to a Recorded Statement
You don’t have to talk to the insurance adjuster at all if you hire an attorney. That means you definitely don’t have to provide a recorded statement. Some insurance adjusters will lead people to believe it’s a requirement during the claims process. However, there is no law that says you have to give them one.
If they record you saying something damaging, such as that you have minor injuries or believe you might have done something to cause the accident, it can become critical evidence they use in their favor.
Don’t Accept the First Settlement Offer
Insurance companies try to close out claims quickly. If you haven’t hired an attorney, they might try to talk you into accepting a settlement that is much lower than you deserve. Whatever you do, don’t say yes. Even if they tell you it’s the best offer you will get, be sure to consult an attorney.
Insurance adjusters often rely on intimidation and scare tactics. If you don’t know the maximum compensation you’re entitled to, you might think this is your only chance to receive the money you need to pay your expenses.
Typically, the first offer isn’t the last. It’s a starting point for negotiations. An experienced lawyer can estimate the actual value of your case with the evidence they find. Talk to them before accepting any offers you’re presented with. Your lawyer can negotiate with the adjuster for a settlement they believe is adequate.
Speak to a Dedicated and Trusted Personal Injury Lawyer from Gibson Hill Personal Injury
At Gibson Hill Personal Injury, our personal injury attorneys have the experience and resources to pursue the money owed to accident victims. We will not allow the insurance adjuster to steamroll you into an unfair settlement. We can investigate the facts of the case to determine the compensation you deserve to receive. You can depend on our legal team to fight for you and try to reach a favorable outcome.
Call us at 512-580-8334 right now for your free consultation if you sustained injuries due to another person’s negligent actions.