Melissa Hart, Seattle area personal injury attorney shared some of her best advice on working with Insurance companies after an accident. Take note as this advice can save you heartache and, of course, money.
Insurance companies are not a friend. They record conversations and use what is said against good people who are trying to explain what happened. Although insurance companies owe a duty of good faith towards their customers, all need to be careful about what they say to even their own insurance company.
Insurance companies are for-profit companies that make money when they pay out less than they take in. Their representatives are highly trained and paid to delay, defend, and deny paying claims.
For example, adjusters for the at-fault driver will ask questions about the injured’s health, injuries, and actions even though they may not have a legal right to that information. They gather information people don’t need to share which can be used to pay less than deserved. They ask questions and people think they need to be polite and answer – or – they don’t know not to answer – or – they think the insurance company on their side.
Giving away too much information or providing the wrong information can hurt people’s cases. People involved in a car accident don’t need to be worrying about what to say or not say when they are trying to heal and get on with their life.
A second insurance company trick is to make a really low offer to settle a claim. They offer what might seem like a nice chunk of change, but is minuscule compared to losses created by hospital bills, doctor bills, missed work, and pain and suffering.
For example, the insurance company may offer $10,000. This is a significant amount of money for most people, but if a claim is worth $100,000 or $500,000, $10,000 is a pittance and will disappear quickly. Once a release is signed, it’s final. No one can change their mind and go back to ask for more.
A third insurance company trick is telling people that they do not have a claim. Shocking, but it happens. Again, insurance company representatives are trained and paid to delay, defend, and deny paying claims. Some insurance companies may offer $100 for the inconvenience of dealing with the accident and get injured people to sign a release saying that they will never be entitled to ask for more.
Then, fourth, the insurance company representative may state something is in the insurance policy or a settlement agreement, but it’s not there. Unfortunately, people have no recourse against an insurance agency because the representative lied or because the agreement wasn’t read and understood. Mistakes and mistruths are irrelevant once the settlement and release agreements are final.
Sometimes, insurance companies don’t pay fairly unless they are held accountable by legal professionals who understand the law, insurance contracts, and medical records, including what to say and what not to say, what’s a fair offer, and whether an offer should be accepted while an injured person is being treated by the medical team.
If someone is still injured and being treated for injuries, no one knows the real costs being incurred. Without advocacy, injured people end up with the short end of the stick.
While no professional can wave a magic wand to turn back the hands of time so no one was ever injured, the law does what’s second best: it provides a system to get financial compensation for injuries.
The best practice is to have each situation evaluated by a legal team. Personal injury attorneys are the legal professionals who help injured people and their families get the compensation they deserve. This means they evaluate each case and let their client know how is best for them, in their individual situation, to proceed. No legal advice is one-size-fits-all.
Personal injury lawyers always read the fine print, know what to ask and say, and know what not to ask and say. They track down witnesses, make public disclosure requests, and deal with the insurance companies and legal system so individuals don’t have to. Instead of mixing it up with them and messing up your case, you focus on healing, health, and creating the life you want.
An accomplished personal injury attorney, Melissa Hart, protects Seattle-area residents injured in car accidents. Throughout the Seattle area, her firm provides effective support so that the injureds’ voices are heard and their rights are respected.
You can learn more here: https://www.seattlecaraccidentlawfirm.com/