Accidents are overwhelming and traumatic experiences and, unfortunately, the trouble does not stop once the event itself is over. As you begin dealing with the at-fault party’s insurance company, you will find yourself navigating another difficult situation. The insurance adjuster might try to appear helpful and concerned about your wellbeing, but it is important to remember one fact – his or her main objective is to ensure you get little to no compensation. To achieve this goal, the insurance adjuster will do everything possible to trick you into saying or agreeing to something that will adversely affect you.
Do not let the insurance company trample over your ability to obtain the compensation you deserve. Read on to learn about the mistakes you should avoid during a personal injury claim:
- Never agree to provide a recorded statement: One of the first things an insurance adjuster will likely ask is for you to provide a recorded statement. If you are not currently being represented by a personal injury attorney who can advise you at this time, you should not agree to do this. Insurance adjusters are well-trained in conducting these types of interviews and the questions will be framed in a way that will elicit a statement from you that works against your own best interests, harming your chances of obtaining compensation.
- Be honest: Any time you speak to the insurance company, it is crucial to be honest. This does not mean you have to volunteer more information than is necessary, but whatever you do provide must be honest. It is a legal requirement that you should not ignore.
- Do not provide your medical records early on in the negotiation process: The insurance adjuster does not need your medical records at the start of this process, so refrain from signing any medical releases until you are near the end of your treatment. This is due to the fact that your medical condition might change over time and, if you provide these records too early, it will not give the most complete or accurate picture of your injuries. Instead, wait until you are nearing the end of your treatment, then sign the medical releases necessary to obtain copies of your medical records. With the assistance of your personal injury attorney, you will be able to calculate your special damages and pain and suffering with greater accuracy, which is critical for drafting an effective demand letter.
- Never discuss preexisting injuries: Admitting that you have a preexisting injury to an insurance adjuster might lead to a reduced settlement offer. This does not mean you need to lie about it. As previously mentioned, honesty is vital to your dealings with the insurance company, but you should refuse to comment on questions regarding a preexisting condition. The fact is that you are not a doctor and only a medical professional can evaluate how your injuries relate to one another. Neither you nor the insurance adjuster can comment on whether or not an injury sustained in an accident might have exacerbated a previous one, so do not attempt to discuss it.
- Do not exaggerate your injuries: Claims adjusters have heard it all and they can often tell when someone is exaggerating the severity of their injuries. Why would you jeopardize your chances of obtaining the compensation you need to recover by trying to stretch the truth? The truth is always powerful enough on its own and the claims adjuster will trust you and be more willing to fairly negotiate with you.
- Never let your guard down: As you begin speaking with the claims adjuster, you might feel like he or she is actually quite personable and helpful, but this is generally a tactic that is used to disarm vulnerable injury victims to glean incriminating admissions from them. Be polite to the adjuster, but do not let your guard down.
- You do not have to answer every question: As you go through the process of discussing your personal injury claim, keep in mind that it is not necessary or advisable for you to answer every question the insurance adjuster asks, especially if you do not actually know the answer to it. It is far better to decline to answer a question than answering it with inaccurate information. It might not seem like a big deal, but even something that appears to be minor can stir some big ripples in your case.
- Avoid using loaded terms: There are some keywords you should avoid using while speaking with the insurance adjuster. Among these terms are “whiplash,” “negligence,” and “reckless.” Insurance adjusters perceive the word whiplash as a red-flag since, unfortunately, many of them do not believe it is a serious or legitimate injury, despite the fact that it can be very painful and lead to chronic conditions. If you did sustain a whiplash injury, do not discuss it until you have been diagnosed by a medical professional. Additionally, the reason why you should avoid using words like reckless or negligence is due to the fact that these are legal terms which have technical definitions you might not entirely understand. Just stick to the facts without adding any extra flourishes to your language.
Personal Injury Attorneys in Lynchburg
If you were recently injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, it is crucial to seek skilled legal representation as soon as possible. At Randall J. Trost, P.C., our family-owned personal injury firm in Lynchburg is dedicated to providing personalized and aggressive legal representation for every client and will fight for the just compensation you deserve.
Do not hesitate to reach out to us. Call us today at (434) 738-2300 to schedule a free consultation.