We may believe that our insurance company is in the business to help us when we get injured. We pay them premiums month after month, and in exchange we expect them to be there for us when something happens. Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that, like most businesses, insurance companies operate to make a profit.
When you are involved in a personal injury, and you turn to your insurance company for help, they will try to pay as little as they can for your claim. Here are some things to consider when dealing with your insurance company without the help of a personal injury attorney.
Don’t Give a Recorded Statement
They will tell you that this is standard procedure and a recorded statement will help to speed up your claim. When you have been injured, you are in a vulnerable state. You may say something that will jeopardize your settlement. It’s hard to know what’s important and what’s not. So, just refuse to give a recorded statement. It may not work in your favor, but you can be sure that it won’t help your claim.
Don’t Rush to Settlement
You may get impatient and want to settle your claim quickly to have access to the cash. You must be patient, and make sure that you are fully recovered before you settle or you understand the impact of your injuries going forward. This takes time.
The insurance company will want to rush you into a smaller settlement before you know the full extent of the injury. Once you have settled, you sign a release. This means that you cannot go back and claim an injury that becomes chronic at some later date.
Let Your Personal Injury Lawyer Do the Talking
If you have hired a reputable personal injury lawyer that knows the local laws, then you are ahead of the game. Let them deal with the insurance adjusters. This way, you get the benefit of all their experience working with insurance companies. They won’t get tricked into doing or saying something that compromises your case.
They will also know how different damages should be valued, and what they are worth to you. You might get a settlement offer that you think is good. Imagine if you find out later that it was worth so much more.
A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words… or a Thousand Dollars
The point is, take pictures. Document everything. There is no such thing as too many pictures. Take photographs of any property damage and injuries that you have sustained. Do this at the time of the accident, and every couple days after the accident. This creates a timeline of your recovery.
In California, there is a policy of “comparative negligence.” The photos you take will be strong evidence that can be used as needed to show your losses.
Report the Accident to the Police
If the accident is minor, you may be tempted not to report your injury to the police. Invest the time necessary to do this. By doing this, you will make sure that a report is filed, and that the facts are collected and maintained in that report. Neither party can come back later and claim that things were worse or better than they appear.
Follow these suggestions when you have a personal injury, and it may make a difference in the outcome of your claim.
If you have been injured, contact a personal injury lawyer for more advice.