Car accidents create a stressful situation, regardless of how serious it may be. This is because the aftermath of these accidents usually require dealing with insurance companies, which is often a headache. Within a few days of the accident, you will be contacted by an insurance adjuster. Usually, they want to settle these claims as quickly as possible. When dealing with insurance companies, there are a variety of things to keep in mind. Continue reading to learn more.
Insurance Adjusters Are Trained to Negotiate
The job of an insurance adjuster is to protect the best interests of the insurance company, not yours. It is because of this that they are trained to minimize the amount of money that is paid on each claim. This results in them often denying the claim or not recognizing the full value of the case.
They are Not Required to Treat You Fairly
It is important to keep in mind that insurance companies are not obligated to treat you fairly or promptly regarding your claim. This is especially so when the other driver is at fault for the accident and you are filing a claim against their insurance company. In these situations, even if the other driver cooperates, the insurance company can delay or deny paying a claim.
Do Not Accept the First Settlement Offer
First offers from insurance companies are often unfair, which is why you should not accept it. Insurance companies are aware that car accident victims are vulnerable and need to pay certain damages, which is why they will offer a low settlement to start so they can settle quickly. However, this can result in you coming up short in paying for the costs of the damages in the long run. It is important to note that companies may begin to ignore you when you do not settle right away. This is a delay tactic to push past the statute of limitations. Be sure to hire an attorney to help deal with the company during this time.
They Will Try to Avoid Paying Medical Expenses
In an effort to try and minimize a settlement offer, insurance companies may suggest you are lying about your injuries or trying to commit fraud. Be sure to keep copies of all records of doctors visits and follow up treatment to defend your claim.
Anything You Say Can be Used Against You
Insurance adjusters want you to agree with their version of the car accident, which is why they will ask a variety of questions. Do not provide a recorded statement or sign agreements until speaking with a personal injury attorney.
You do Not Have to Take Your Car to Their Recommended Body Shop
All individuals have the right to choose where they want their car to be repaired. You do not have to use the body shop that is recommended by the insurance company. When seeing your own shop, be sure to bring the insurance company’s repair estimate with you.
You Have the Right to Appeal the Insurance Company’s Offer When it Totals Your Vehicle
Insurance companies will often decide to “total” a vehicle if the cost of repairs is 70% or more of the car’s value. In doing so, they are required to give you a check for the vehicle’s fair market value. When an offer is made, ask to see the comparable cars that the company based the value on. You may want to do your own research or hire an adjuster for a second evaluation if the offer seems low.
Do Not Listen to Any Threats
Insurance companies may often try certain extortion techniques in order to trick you. This can be done by paying a claim for a policyholder, then sending a collections letter to you. If you receive a letter asking you to pay this debt and threatening to have your driver’s license suspended, be sure to know your rights by contacting a skilled personal injury attorney.
Never Sign Anything Without a Lawyer’s Reviewal
The fine print on any document is important. However, it is often overlooked. Do not sign away your rights to pursuing additional damages or filing a lawsuit. Be sure to have an attorney look over all documentation before signing.
Contact our Firm
We understand the impact a serious injury can have on an individual’s life. If you have been injured in New Jersey due to another party’s negligence, please do not hesitate to speak with an experienced attorney who can assess your situation and guide you through your legal options. Contact our firm today to learn how we can help.