After you file an accident claim, you’re probably going to end up hearing from the other driver’s insurance company. A claims adjuster will try to call you to get more “details” about the accident. Be warned now: they will use any information that you give them to try and minimize your claim amount, and may try to quickly cajole you into a lesser settlement before you realize that you’ve been taken advantage of. Luckily, there are a few ways that you can protect your legal rights from the insurance company’s attempt to short-change you.
A Few Tricks of the Insurance Trade
One of the more common tricks of an insurance company is calling you as soon as possible in order to catch you before you’ve had a chance to talk to a lawyer. If that happens, simply state that you do not wish to speak with anyone until you’ve had a chance to talk it over with your legal counsel. Don’t let them harass you into talking before you’ve had a chance to find an attorney. If you have already obtained legal help, the insurance company should always communicate directly to your lawyer, not to you. Report any such attempt to contact you directly to your legal counsel as soon as possible.
Adjusters will also often try to lowball you during their first call with a severely undervalued cash settlement offer for property damage, and may attempt to cut off any further personal injury claims by asking you to sign a waiver of your right to sue. Don’t agree to anything at this point, and don’t let the adjuster badger you into anything you’re not comfortable with. Just tell him or her that you’d rather wait to discuss it with your legal counsel.
An adjuster may also ask you to make a recorded statement about the accident during the call. Do not agree! You are almost never legally obligated to do so, and it will only be used as evidence against you later. The insurance company just wants the recording in order to comb through it for any evidence they can use to reduce the amount of your claim. You are not obligated to discuss how you think the accident happened at all, either—simply refer the adjuster to the police report, or your lawyer. You may tell them simple facts, such as how many people were in the accident, whether or not anyone was hurt, and what medical care has been given. They typically don’t need any more information from you than that.
Other Ways to Protect Your Rights
These aren’t the only tricks that insurance companies will pull to try and devalue your claim. One way that you can protect your rights and stay informed is by reading our free eBook, 7 BIGGEST MISTAKES That Can Ruin Your California Injury Case. Inside, you can find out about more of the sneaky methods that insurance companies set and how to avoid them, so download your copy today and be prepared.
The absolute best way to protect your rights after an accident is to get legal help from a qualified law firm that deals with auto accidents. You’ll be best served by a reputable lawyer with good reviews from past clients, and a long history of excellent case results. That means finding someone who is highly skilled and has years of experience handling cases like yours.
The attorneys at Steinberg Injury Lawyers have over three decades of experience with personal injury and automobile accident claims. We will fight with integrity and respect to protect your legal rights and get the money that you are owed. If you or someone you love is ever involved in a car accident, call us for a free case evaluation right away, day or night, at 800-989-6385.