Posted on September 22nd, 2023 by Zane Cagle
If injured in a car crash, you have to look out for yourself. Simply, you should not put faith in any auto insurance company. If auto insurance companies treated injured people fairly, we would not represent so many injured people. Seriously injured folks usually discover they just cannot get fair compensation without representation. That fact has nothing to do with the personality, character or intelligence of the injured person. Insurance companies simply do not compensate fairly without significant encouragement and often, a fight. As an injured person, trying to mount a fight without any legal power is simply not successful. Medical bills rarely accurately reflect a serious injury and adjusters try to equate injury to billing. An insurance company is not an objective party. They have an adjuster assess someone else’s injury and pain focused on the least amount possible. Most of us very much value our physical well being and do not want to be devalued.
Our attorneys can make a difference in the outcome for those injured if they are involved in a crash involving insurance. Our primary focus is that the injured person have the best medical recovery and compensation. Simple goals that benefit the client every time. Protecting yourself after a car crash is critically important to your welfare and a high concern for us.
Motor Vehicle Crashes are Inconvenient at Best, Life Changing at Worst
Car crashes are equal opportunity offenders in that they happen to every kind of person who could drive or ride in a vehicle. It matters not your race, gender or wealth. Serious injuries are devastating to your quality of life and financial well-being.
Ultimately, if you are hurt in crash, there are steps you must take to protect yourself. One, call the police- don’t just exchange information and hope for the best. Second, seek medical treatment immediately. Do not wait for approval or again, hope for the best. Third, call an attorney. Don’t live in suspense hoping and wondering if the insurance company will cover things eventually. Trying to deal with the auto insurance company on your own if you are hurt is just a mistake. Trying to explain or document your injury will prove frustrating and time consuming. Dealing with the insurance adjuster takes energy that you need for healing and restoring some normalcy in your life.
We all buy insurance so that our risks will be covered should we be in a crash, right? The auto insurance marketing industry spends fortunes promoting protection and certainty. Yet, if you are hurt, there is no certainty. Insurance industry is a successful one for several reasons. One, the sales agents are a apart of your community. One of your best buddies may be your insurance sales agent and they are providing a service. However, if you have an injury claim, your sales agent has no influence over the result no matter how great they are as a person. Two, the adjuster is regional and not a part of your community and this is purposeful. It is far easier to reduce or deny a claim if it is a person you do not know or will encounter in your community. Third, often insurance companies insure their own policies. If one thinks that making a property or injury claim causes uncalculated loss for the insurance carrier, that would be incorrect.
Interesting, auto insurance is the only service we are required by law to buy but expected never to use. The most common fear when making a claim through your insurance company is that your rates will go up. It’s a valid fear. It is actually a true statement that when you pay for full coverage auto insurance, your insurance company is not doing you a “favor” by paying your property damage claim. They are simply honoring the contractual agreement and providing services for which you have paid–often for decades! No matter what kind of claim one makes, making the claim is an experience in uncertainty and anxiety–much different than the commercials suggest.
Types of Car Crashes
Sometimes folks think the type of crash makes the claim more clear or “cut and dry”. That is not correct. There really is no such thing as a cut and dry car crash claim. Meaning, there are few crashes that an insurance company will not dispute in some way. If arguing liability or fault seems futile, the adjuster or insurance attorney will make the argument that the injured person is not as hurt as they claim. We have had insurance companies argue our driver should have swerved into oncoming traffic to avoid their driver hitting our client head-on. Yet, there is only one reason for these arguments and that is to reduce the amount of compensation. Likewise, often the insurance company will argue fault in a rear-end collision even though most drivers are aware that they are responsible for keeping control of their vehicle and look for traffic ahead. Insurance companies love to say that “accidents happen” implying there is not real cause. Few collisions are acts of God or weather. Most of us in a crash know exactly how it happened and what driving errors occurred to result in said crash.
Property vs. Physical Injury
If an auto insurance company gives you grief about your property damage, you will not be surprised that they undervalue your injuries. When an insurance adjuster is talking about your injury, it is just that–someone else’s injury. In reality, when it comes to your own injured body, it is worth quite a bit to you. Likewise, when we represent a client, their injuries are not just “someone else’s injury”.
A good attorney actually cares about your injury and recovery. We work to quantify your injury, meaning establishing the nature of the injury and whether or not it permanent. For example, you may break an arm that successfully heals with just a cast. But, that bone is forever compromised once it has been broken. Thus, just the medical bill to have it put in a cast does not accurately represent the totality of your loss. Most of the time when someone is injured, they have no idea the extent of their injury or how they will heal in the first few weeks. A person’s injury is not always just a reflection of their medical bills.
Looking Out for Yourself Dealing with an Adjuster
Everyone assumes they have to answer whatever question the adjuster asks. Also, most people think if they share every detail and update about heir injury, the insurance company will treat them fairly. Few people have that experience. You have some rights when dealing with insurance carriers whether it is yours or another driver’s. Not only are these some basic rights, but there are some common mistakes people make that can seriously impact their claim.
Mistakes Smart People Make Dealing with an Adjuster
- It is a mistake to assume the insurance adjuster is looking out for your best interest, even your own insurance carrier.
- It is a mistake to offer any information about the nature of your injury in the first conversations with the insurance adjuster. The vast majority of injured people have no idea of the extent of their injury in the first few days, let alone how they will heal.
- It is a mistake to share your health insurance information with the adjuster in the first few weeks. Franklin, it is none of their business in the first few months if you are hurt. Revelations of the type of health insurance coverage you have just begins the process for the adjuster to offset their responsibility. This is absurd because your health insurance company will have a subrogation interest or “right to be paid back”. Do not give the auto insurance company a head start to cut corners.
- It is a mistake to sign and return a medical authorization for the auto insurance company in the first few weeks or months if you are hurt. If you are hurt, consult an attorney. An attorney will regulate what information and when it can be released. Do not give an auto insurance company permission to rife through all your private medical records.
- It is a mistake to think the adjuster will inform you if they are recording your statement. Everything you say is noted if not recorded unless you want a copy of it.
- It is a mistake to believe the insurance adjuster will be informative about your coverage options. You cannot assume that the insurance adjuster will even tell you the truth. If they will not put it in writing, doubt it.
- It is a mistake to assume the auto insurance company will “cover all of your medical” even if they say so over the phone. If you end up amassing very many bills and need much treatment, it will be an issue. We could write hundreds of stories of client experiences with the insurance adjuster promising things based on no information that later turns out to not be true. Promises made by the adjuster on the phone are not actual promises.
These are a few of the mistakes that we see clients deal with before they call us. It is always harder to overcome these honest mistakes that good people make every day in their effort to be fully transparent and honest with an insurance company.
Importance of Avoiding These Mistakes
A simple call to most any skilled car accident attorney can assist you before you make one of these common mistakes. We guide those who are not significantly free of charge daily. We would rather give out free information to anyone rather than compound the difficulty each person deals with after a crash. Car crashes are at minimum an inconvenience, at worst, they are life changing. The actual cost of making one of these mistakes can result in a significant reduction in the compensation injured parties very much need for their medical bills.
But, the Insurance Commercials Promote a Feeling of Safety and Assurance?
The auto insurance industry is multi-billon dollar industry for a reason. They produce great television commercials and the jingles live on in our minds. Who doesn’t know about Jake at State Farm, and Farmers’, “We’ve seen a thing or two because we’ve covered a thing or two”. If you notice, every one of their commercials give examples of property damage. The insurance companies never even allude to medical bill recovery Auto insurance is the only service you are required by law to buy but feel bad when you make a claim. Grateful and relieved should not be how you have to feel when your own full coverage insurance carrier pays the property damage claim.
If You Are Involved in a Crash
Use the free service of free consultations to clarify the process of how to proceed. Most personal injury attorneys are delighted to give you the advice free to save you the heartache of an insurance ordeal. If you are not hurt, you really won’t need an attorney. If you are hurt, you really cannot afford to go without an attorney.
Call us toll free 1.800.685.3302 and locally 314.276.1681