The aftermath of a car accident is stressful enough. Dealing with insurance companies on top of this can make it more difficult. Within a few days of the accident, you will be contacted by an insurance adjuster who usually wants to settle claims as quickly as possible. When dealing with them, there are many things to remember. Continue reading to learn more.
Insurance Adjusters Are Trained to Negotiate
The job of an insurance adjuster is to protect the company’s best interest, not yours. They are trained to minimize the amount of money that is paid out on claims, meaning they will often deny the claim or not recognize its full value.
They are Not Required to Treat You Fairly
Insurance companies are not obligated to treat you fairly or promptly regarding your claim. Even in situations where the other driver cooperates, the insurance company may delay or deny paying a claim to avoid doing so.
Do Not Accept the First Settlement Offer
First offers from insurance companies are usually unfair. They are aware that car accident victims are vulnerable and have certain additional costs as a result, which is why they will offer a low settlement with hopes to settle quickly. However, this can hurt you in the long run, which is why you should not accept the first offer. If an insurance company ignores you after you refuse to accept, be sure to hire an attorney for assistance, as this is a delay tactic.
They Will Try to Avoid Paying Medical Expenses
To try and minimize a settlement offer, insurance companies may claim you are lying about your injuries or trying to commit fraud. To prevent this, keep all records of doctors visits and follow up treatment for your defense.
You do Not Have to Take Your Car to Their Recommended Body Shop
You have the right to choose where you want your car repaired. You do not have to use the shop that is recommended by the insurance company. When going to your own shop, bring the insurance company’s repair estimate with you.
You Have the Right to Appeal the Insurance Company’s Offer When it Totals Your Vehicle
Insurance companies will often decide to “total” a vehicle if the repairs cost 70% or more of the car’s value. When they do, they are required to give you a check for the vehicle’s fair market value. Make sure you ask to see the comparable cars that the company based the value on when they make an offer to be sure it is not too low. You may also want to do your own research or hire an independent adjuster for a second evaluation.
Do Not Listen to Any Threats
Insurance companies may often try certain extortion techniques such as paying a claim for a policyholder, then sending you a collections letter. If you are asked to pay this debt and threatened to have your driver’s license suspended, contact a personal injury attorney to know your rights.
Never Sign Anything Without a Lawyer’s Reviewal
Anything you say can and will be used against you during this time. While the fine print is important, it is often overlooked. Never sign any documentation or provide a recorded statement until speaking with a personal injury attorney. Always have an attorney look over all documentation before signing.
Contact our Firm
If you have been injured in a personal injury accident, Swerling Law is here to help. Our firm understands the challenges that many people face after being hurt in an accident and is prepared to help you receive an award of significant compensation to ease some of your burdens. To schedule a consultation with an experienced construction site accident attorney in New York City, contact Swerling Law today.