Why You Should Never Negotiate with Insurance Adjusters Directly
You never expected to be in an accident the day it happened. It all unfolded in a matter of mere moments and changed so many things—your plans, your physical state, and even impacted your income. What you’d like most is to go back and undo the events of the day—take another route or leave 10 minutes later, and your second greatest desire is to put this all behind you and recover your insurance money as soon as possible.
If that describes how you feel following an accident that left you injured due to the negligence of another person, you are not alone. Many individuals simply want to settle their claim as soon as possible and move on with their lives. Unfortunately, this leads many injured accident victims to be influenced by parties who don’t have their best interests at heart.
When your insurance claim is being processed, you may be contacted by an insurance adjustor. This might seem like a great opportunity to share your side of the story, tell them about all of your symptoms and injuries, and encourage them to drop a check in the mail, but the truth is, insurance adjustors have one goal: paying you as little as possible.
For this reason, your best course of action is to hire an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney to communicate with the insurance company on your behalf. Our team of skilled attorneys work with injury accident victims on a contingency fee basis, which means that you do not owe any legal fees upfront or pay any legal fees at all unless you win a favorable settlement or verdict in your case.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the nuances of why you really do not want to speak with an insurance adjustor directly about your claim:
They may try to convince you that you don’t have a valid claim, even if you do: If an insurance company believes it can get away without paying you any compensation for your injuries, they will likely try. It is not uncommon for an insurance company to deny a claim outright due to an alleged lack of causation. This means that the insurance company denies that their insured (the person who caused the accident) was at fault and argues that they are therefore not liable for your damages.
They may deny that you are really injured or that your injuries are as bad as you say they are: Another common way an insurance company may deny your claim completely or offer you much less than your claim is really worth is by disputing the “nature and extent” of your injuries. For example, there are many different types of neck injuries that can result after an accident. They may argue that one or more of your claimed injuries are not real or that one or more of your injuries are not as severe as you are claiming. As a result, even if they accept that their insured was responsible for causing the accident, they may not offer you a settlement that covers all of your medical bills or fairly compensates you for the injuries you suffered as a result of the accident.
They may allege that your injuries preexisted the accident: It is not unusual for an insurance adjustor to try to claim that you already had the injuries before the accident ever happened. They may use this argument to support their denial of your claim in whole or in part due to a preexisting injury. If you injured your neck or back in the accident in question, they may take any reference to neck or back pain in your medical records and use that information as basis for arguing that the accident merely exacerbated symptoms in an injury you already had, so they are not responsible for the full extent of your injury or medical bills.
They may argue that you suffered your injuries after the accident: A similar type of defense that insurance companies often argue is that your injuries occurred subsequent to the accident in questions, therefore they are not required to compensate you for those injuries. They may point to an accident you were in after the accident that was caused by their insured or they may blame it on some other activity you were involved in.
They may undervalue your claim: It is not the job or motivation of an insurance company to offer you the full value of your claim. This is certainly true if you yourself have undervalued your claim in your demand to them or perhaps you have not made a demand at all.
When you hire a personal injury attorney to represent you in your case, your attorney will first look at all of the information related to your claim including the police report, witness statements, photographs of the scene, medical records, physical therapy records, and employment records that show time off from work as a result of the accident. They will use all of this information to determine the value of your claim. This amount will include lost wages, lost vacation or sick time, and future projected medical needs.
If you do not know how to properly determine the value of your claim and you leave out crucial elements, like projected costs of future medical needs, you can be certain that the insurance company will not voluntarily correct your undervaluation.
They may try to take advantage of you because you are not represented by an attorney: In some combination of the above concerns, insurance adjustors are much more likely to try to mislead you as to the strength and/or value of your claim if you are not represented by an attorney. They may believe that you are not savvy enough about personal injury law to know that they are undervaluing your claim or assume that you do not have the willingness or fortitude to take your case to trial, if necessary.
An unspoken threat of litigation is what causes an insurance company to settle your claim for any amount, especially a claim of higher value. If you are not represented by an attorney, an insurance company will be much more confident in their ability to influence you in the direction and outcome of your case.
On the other hand, if you are represented by an experienced personal injury attorney, the insurance company is not allowed to contact you or communicate with you directly about your claim. They must speak to your attorney instead. Many of the games that insurance companies try to play with an unrepresented claimant quickly end when they begin dealing with your attorney directly.
If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident caused by the negligence of another party, it is important to be supported by the advice and advocacy of a skilled personal injury lawyer. If you have been injured anywhere in Southern California, contact Silverthorne Attorneys before you agree to speak with an insurance adjustor. Our team will arrange a complimentary consultation with you to determine the value and strength of your claim and form a strategy to help you recover the compensation you are entitled to.
You do not need to and should not face the insurance adjustors alone. Silverthorne Attorneys is here to stand beside you and handle your claim, so you can focus on healing and moving on with your life. Contact us today at (949) 234-6034.