The time immediately after a car accident, or any accident that causes injuries, can be chaotic to say the least. Not only are you dealing with your health and the injuries you have sustained, but most likely, you will soon be dealing with a complicated legal situation that many people find confusing. Insurance companies use the chaos in the aftermath of a car accident to try and trick victims and reduce their ability to recover compensation. Remember, insurance companies do not make money when they pay out claims. Insurance companies make money by not paying the full value of injury claims, and they will try a number of different tactics to reduce your injury claim and protect their profits. Read below to learn about seven of the most common tactics insurance companies use against car accident victims.
1. They Make Contact Quickly
Immediately following your car accident a claims adjuster or representative from the insurance company is going to try and make contact with you. They may call you while you are in the hospital. It is not unheard of for them to actually show up at the site of your accident and try to talk to you. Why do they respond so quickly? Because they know that people are in a vulnerable state in the aftermath of an accident. They know that there is a good chance that you don’t have legal representation yet, and they know that more times than not, if they can talk to you quickly, you will say something that they can use to reduce your injury claim. You are not obligated to talk to anyone from the insurance company especially while you are in the hospital or at the scene of a car accident.
2. They Try to Be Your Buddy
People are comfortable talking to their friends and people they trust. Insurance adjusters will try to be as friendly as possible when talking with you. They are trained to get close to you and foster a sense of friendship so you will talk to them. Insurance adjusters will ask how you are doing, and seem concerned for you and your injuries. They are not concerned. All they want is for you to say something that they can use to reduce your injury claim.
3. They Will Twist Your Words
A common theme so far has been communication and language. The best bet for insurance companies is to use your own words against you. Insurance adjusters are trained to not admit fault for their covered drivers, and to seek ways to get you to claim responsibility for all or some of the accident and your injuries. One common trick insurance companies use against injured victims is to twist the meaning of their words. They will call you and act very friendly. Part of most normal conversations is the question, “How are you doing?” Typically, people just respond with, “I’m doing fine.” Insurance companies will try to twist this innocuous conversation into meaning that your injuries are not as bad as you claim or not as serious as first thought. Be careful. There are a number of different common variations to this question and response. Most of us have conversations that include some variation of it at least once a day, and our responses are generally automatic.
4. They Will Demand a Recorded Statement
The insurance company will probably tell you that you need to make a recorded statement in order for your claim to be processed and paid. THIS IS NOT TRUE! You are under no obligation to give a recorded statement to the insurance adjuster. You may have to speak with your insurance company depending on what your policy says, but you never have to give the other driver’s insurance company any type of recorded statement. They will use your recorded statement against you. They will slip in innocent seeming questions during the course of your statement that are designed to get you to admit partial fault. There is no reason to ever give the other insurance company a recorded statement about your accident. Even when speaking with your insurance company it is in your best interest to obtain legal representation.
5. They Will Make Settling Seem Urgent
In the state of Louisiana, you have one year from the time of your car accident to file a lawsuit to protect your rights. Insurance companies will give you the idea that you need to settle quickly or else you will get nothing for your injuries and damages. They may even offer you money in the direct aftermath of your accident if you sign away your rights to a lawsuit. Don’t be fooled! The insurance company is trying to protect their bottom line. If they are offering you money to settle quickly, before you have had a chance to discuss your case with a personal injury lawyer, your car accident case is likely worth far more than what the insurance company is offering you.
6. They Try to Get a Broad Release of Your Medical Records
Your injuries as a result of the car accident are pertinent to your injury claim. Giving insurance companies access to your medical records directly tied to the treatment of your injuries resulting from the accident is fine. However, insurance companies will try and get you to sign a broad release of your medical records, and you may think that this is no big deal. Insurance companies want to get a broad release of your medical records so that they can use your past medical history in an attempt to show that some of your injuries were pre-existing conditions. Giving insurance companies a broad release of your medical records will only work against you. Give them nothing more than the medical records associated with your accident and the treatment of your injuries.
7. They Will Look at Your Social Media Accounts
After a car accident insurance companies will look into your social media accounts and activities to see if you have posted anything about your accident. Anything that you post on social media regarding your accident can be used against you by insurance companies looking to reduce your injury and damage claims. The best advice we can offer you is to not post anything regarding your car accident to social media. Remember, insurance adjusters are experts at twisting your words in an effort to reduce your claims. They will stop at nothing to protect their bottom line.
Hire an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
It should be clear by now that your best bet in the aftermath of a car accident is to hire a car accident lawyer. Insurance companies will tell you that you don’t need one. They will tell you that a lawyer will only cost you money and time, but this is not true. Insurance companies don’t want you to hire a personal injury lawyer. They know if you do that you are likely to get more money for your injury and damage claims.
Murphy Law Firm fights for injured victims. We have over 150 years of combined litigation experience, and we are all too familiar with the dirty tricks insurance companies try to put over on injured victims. Call us today at (225) 928-8800 to speak with a personal injury attorney and set up a FREE consultation for your car accident. Don’t be a victim twice!