Auto Accidents: What You Need to Know

WRONG!  Don’t be surprised when your insurance company tries to limit your recovery, including the benefits you are entitled to for payment of medical expenses.

It is a common mistake for people to believe that their insurance companies work for them.  Their slogans and commercials often create a perception that the companies’ teams of agents, adjusters and claim processers are waiting to take care of their customers if and when they need them.  If you have ever been in a car accident before, then you know what a difficult process it can be dealing with the insurance company.

It’s best to be aware of what may happen with your insurance company after you have been in accident so that you are prepared for it.  Below are some tricks the insurance companies use to minimize the amount they have to pay.

Quick Tips for Dealing with Insurance Companies

  1. Never sign any paperwork from the insurance company, including releases and statements, until your attorney has reviewed it.
  2. You do not have to provide a recorded statement to the insurance company after the accident – recorded statements can come back to hurt you later, especially if you were injured in the accident.
  3. You do not have to allow a claims adjuster to look at your vehicle immediately after the accident. It is a good idea to have your lawyer look at it first and to get your own estimate.
  4. You are entitled to diminished value for your vehicle if it was repaired after the accident. – Never believe it if your insurance company tells you that you do not need a lawyer to help you with your insurance claim – even if they send you a nice brochure explaining why this is true.

Dirty Tricks Insurance Companies Use

  1. The first settlement offer will never be a fair one. Never accept the first offer.  It is a common practice for insurance companies to offer a low-ball settlement right away because they know you need the money and you are vulnerable after the accident.  A team of vocational, medical and other experts should be used to determine the full value of a person’s losses after an auto accident, not a simple equation used by your insurance company.
  2. You keep calling, but they don’t answer.  Insurance companies may try to wear you down into accepting a settlement offer by stalling.  This may include transferring you to numerous claims adjusters throughout the company.  In some cases, the adjusters simply will not return your calls. The best way to deal with an insurer that refuses to take your calls is to have your attorney start making them for you.
  3. “We aren’t paying those medical bills.” Auto insurance companies use a variety of tactics to avoid paying medical expenses after an accident. The common theme used is that the insurance company will try to find a way to limit your recovery for medical expenses, whether by insinuating that you are exaggerating or lying about your injuries and/or trying to commit insurance fraud.
  4. “You think your car is worth what?!” If you car was damaged in the accident, getting the repairs you need or the fair market value for the vehicle after it was totaled can be an uphill battle. It is common for insurance companies to keep a list of preferred auto body repair shops that they will suggest their customers use for their repairs.  The problem, however, is that these shops may cut corners when repairing your vehicle. They may use cheaper replacement parts and, in some cases, may not even repair all of the damage to your vehicle.  Make no mistake – shops on the preferred lists work for the insurance companies and want to keep their business, not yours.
  5. The recorded statement. Insurance company employees will ask questions worded in such a way that they trap or trick you into responses that hurt your case. You may not even realize this is happening at the time. They may try to push or bully you into agreeing to facts you aren’t certain are completely accurate. You respond “I guess so” just to get the questioner off your back. Unfortunately, that “I guess so” can come back to haunt you later.

Get Your Own Advocate – Contact an Attorney

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of an auto accident, call Tyson Mutrux of the Mutrux Law Firm immediately at no cost or obligation to you.  In some instances, we can have someone meet you at your house the same day.

Contact us today for a free consultation.