Steps to Getting a Full and Fair Insurance Settlement
You pay for auto insurance so you have the peace of mind that, when the unexpected happens, you’ll be protected. Unfortunately, after a motor vehicle accident, it’s common to encounter difficulties trying to get a fair insurance settlement. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses that maximize profits by minimizing the amount paid out on claims. Here are some tips to help protect your rights and ensure that you get the benefits to which you are entitled.
Be Careful What You Say to an Insurance Adjuster
Once you notify your insurer of the accident, you can expect to be contacted fairly quickly by an adjuster. The adjuster will assess all physical injury and property damage and make the initial determination of how much the insurance company should pay on the claim. The adjuster will typically interview you, as well as other witnesses, and may look at the police report or visit the scene of the accident.
The adjuster may call you on the phone and try to interview you that way. Tell the adjuster you only wish to discuss the accident in person so that your lawyer can be present with you.When you speak with the adjuster, tell the truth, but give only the facts—don’t make any statements about whether or not you believe you were at fault. The adjuster may ask to record the interview—you have the right to politely decline. The adjuster usually has considerable experience with these types of interviews and may frame questions or structure the interview in ways that could make you look bad before a jury.
Be prepared for some tough questions or to feel like the adjuster is blaming you for the accident. The key, in such a situation, is to avoid getting angry or testy. While you don’t have to agree with statements made by the adjuster, you won’t improve your chances of getting a fair settlement by badgering or quarreling with them. Patiently recite the basic facts as you recall them.
Don’t Try to Remember Details
Forcing yourself to remember details is an easy way to make contradictory statements. An accident typically involves an adrenalin rush, which can have an effect on your perspective. You should offer just the basic facts: when the accident occurred, where it happened, which vehicles were involved, the type of accident (T-bone, head-on, rear-end, etc.) and who was traveling with you. It’s fine to tell the adjuster that you understand there’s an ongoing investigation of the accident and that you can’t discuss the details until it’s completed.
The adjuster is likely to ask you a lot of questions about any physical injuries you’ve suffered. Don’t give any details. Simply say that you are getting medical treatment and have to defer any assessment or diagnosis to medical professionals.
Resist the Urge to Take an Immediate Settlement
The adjuster may make an initial offer that seems like a lot of money. However, you might have no idea what your potential losses are. Your best strategy is to immediately hire experienced legal counsel who can determine the value of your claim. When an adjuster makes an offer, simply say that you’ll have to take the offer to your attorney.
Contact the Proven Wrongful Death Lawyers at Bailey & Galyen
At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we understand the devastation when a family member has died because of someone else’s careless or negligent act. We know that no amount of money can bring them back, but we also believe that you have the right to hold wrongdoers accountable for their actions.
We offer a free initial consultation to anyone who has lost a loved one in an accident. To set up an appointment with an experienced wrongful death attorney, contact us by e-mail or call our offices at 844-402-2992. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.