Not only are you injured, now you have to deal with the insurance company. Before doing so, read the 11 things your insurer does not want you to know.
Did you get injured in a car accident? Did you suffer an accident and find yourself in a hospital? Do you need to be compensated for damages? Be careful! The insurance company may have something very different in mind.
Take note of these 11 things that your insurer does not want you to know to protect both you and your family.
Discover How to Deal (and Win) with Insurance Companies
Dealing with the insurance company after an accident is a stressful process because it can quickly transform into a minefield. Will they fairly compensate you? Will you need to hire the services of a lawyer? Should you make a formal and recorded statement?
Not all accidents require hiring a personal injury lawyer. If you did not suffer any injury or serious damage, you can deal with your insurer yourself. If you want to know how to get fair compensation for a car accident read this article.
1- Never Accept Their First Offer
Insurance agents may appear extremely friendly and “interested” in your case, but remember that they do not work for you, they work for the insurer.
If their first offer represented fair compensation, they would have been fired from their job some time ago. Therefore, the first offer that the agent makes to resolve the accident claim is, surely, less than what you are entitled to.
Some representatives will tell you that if the impact was minor, you cannot have suffered any injury. Others may tell you that you have no right to compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages or wages, car rental or medicines.
They want to trick you into thinking that the insurance company is being generous, but in reality, they are not offering the amount that they are supposed to pay you.
2- The Insurance Company is not your friend or will defend your Interests – They are expert negotiators and they are very well trained. They will tell you things like:
“That’s my best offer”
“If you do not accept this offer in 24 hours I will not be able to offer it again”
“After analyzing your case, our experts concluded that your pain is related to an injury you previously had”
“You will earn less after paying the fees of a lawyer”
“You are undocumented”
Do these phrases sound familiar to you? The insurance company knows about the subject, knows human psychology, and knows how to convince you and pay you the minimum possible. And sometimes, they will even deny your claim.
3- The Insurer and its “Obligation to Defend You”
If you have been sued for an accident and have not been injured, it may be a good idea to use the insurance lawyer. They are responsible for the payment for what your policy covers and will try to minimize your expense.
But, if you were injured, had to go to the hospital, or were physically or mentally incapacitated, it is advisable to seek legal representation. The insurance lawyer is not there to represent you. The insurance lawyer’s job is to defend the insurer’s finances.
A study conducted by the Insurance Research Council shows that people who hired a personal injury lawyer after an accident received twice as much money as those who did not.
If you suffer from pain or injury after an accident and/or visited an emergency doctor or went to a hospital, consider hiring a personal injury lawyer immediately after the accident. This way you will have a personal injury lawyer on your side that will fight to try and get you the compensation you deserve.
4- Everything you say can be used against you
When an insurance company receives a claim for an injury or accident, they do not go and cut you a check right away. They conduct an investigation to determine if they accept the claim and, in doing so, how much they are willing to pay for your damages, if anything.
The main function of this investigation is to see if there is any legal basis to deny or limit your claim. And here comes the important part. They will most likely ask for a formal and recorded statement of the facts.
They will make you feel comfortable in the conversation so that you can say something that they can later use against you. Something like “no, it does not hurt much right now” or “yes, I left a party with friends”, or “yes, it could have been my fault”, or “I already had back pain but the accident made it worse”.
Before giving any statement, consider getting legal advice, even if you think that you may be partly to blame. You have the right to refuse making a statement, and the insurer cannot force you to give any information if you tell them that you must first consult with your lawyer.
The insurer does not want you to know that this information will be used to PAY YOU LESS than you deserve.
5- Beware of signing or grant any authorization to access your personal information
This is very important. We know that you may be stressed out after the accident and that may make you see the insurance company in a positive light. You will think that they will come to save you and that they are protecting you. Actually, they are a business like any other. And as such, they cannot access your information unless they meet the legal requirements to do so.
You may be asked for permission so they can access your medical records. Their main goal is to see if they can find a pre-existing condition or another reason to deny your claim. Or they may ask you to sign a “release form”. This frees them immediately from any obligation to you.
Before signing any document or otherwise giving them permission, get legal advice. Do not sign anything without consulting with your lawyer.It sounds repetitive but you have every right to do so and they cannot force you to give out any information if you tell them that you must first consult with your lawyer.
The insurer does not want you to know that this information will be used to PAY YOU LESS than your share.
6- DO NOT visit the doctor recommended by the insurance company
Your insurer will send you to one of their doctors; do not go to that doctor. Texas is a “no-fault” state and that means that your car insurance is the one that pays for your medical treatment. And if we learned something from the previous points is that insurance companies will want to limit your compensation.
They will often tell you that they have a doctor or nurse to evaluate your injuries. Remember that they are the insurance doctors and will try to control your diagnosis, and minimize your treatment, with the potential for devastating effects on your health and your pocket.
The insurance company wants you to have minimal treatment so they can give you minimum monetary recovery. At PMR Law, we know experts of several types of injuries that also understand the complexity of problems that a personal injury case can bring.
7- Take photos
The photos and videos that you take with your cell phone are evidence and documentation of what happened. These photos and videos could be very important to your case. In accidents, the insurance company may try to intimidate you and tell you that these cannot be presented to the court as evidence, but that is not true.
If you can, take pictures of the damage, injuries, bruises, scars, and the scene of the accident. If someone else filmed the accident while it was happening, or took video or pictures after, make sure you get their contact information and ask them to send you the video and/or pictures.
8- Classify your case as minor injury (MIST)
Insurance companies tend to classify auto accidents with small-amounts of damage to the car and where nobody broke a bone or suffered a major trauma such as MIST (Minor Impact Soft Tissue) or low PD (low property damage)
Insurers commonly deny these claims for accidents with soft tissue injuries, such as whiplash, sprains or strains.
If you have suffered this type of injury, consult an attorney experienced in automobile accidents with personal injuries.
9- No one tells you that there are time limits to make your claim
There are time limits for filing a claim with the insurer and time limits to file personal injury cases in a court via a lawsuit. These time periods vary from state to state. The laws that determine the limitation periods are different depending on the type of accident: auto, work or other types of personal injury. And there are exceptions.
That is why it is very important to know local laws – or to have an experienced lawyer by your side. If you wait too long file your claim, it may be too late to ever bring your case in front of a judge or jury.
Another consequence of not making a claim quickly is that witnesses and evidence may disappear. Do not hesitate to consult with an accident lawyer about your case.
10- The Insurance Company will tell you they are not afraid to go to trial
But the reality is very different. The insurance company will try to convince you that your demands are a waste of time or that they will win and that you will end up covering expenses. The truth is an insurer is often weighing the benefits and risks of going to trial versus settling your case. An experience trial lawyer can help you determine the risks and rewards of accepting a particular settlement offer versus taking your case to trial.
At PMR Law, we only get paid if you recover money, and we get paid based on how much you receive. So, we weigh the pros and cons of accepting a settlement offer or presenting your case in front of a jury at trial and provide advice.
11- Insurers DO NOT Always Act in Good Faith
Insurance companies are definitely not free of supervision and responsibility. The law in all states requires that they act in “good faith” when dealing with their policyholders. Basically, this means that the insurance company must act in the best interest of their insured and not of themselves. Unfortunately, many insurance companies forget these regulations. This is where having a lawyer can be very helpful.
Is the insurance company trying to unfairly compensate you or denying your claim?
If you or a loved one has been a victim of fraud by an insurance company in Texas, there are laws to protect you and get you the compensation you deserve.
Contact our lawyers at 832-481-3427. Get in touch with us immediately so we can evaluate your case for free. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also fill out a form by clicking here.
PMR Law is considered one of the Best Law Firms of America, by Rue Ratings. Several of our attorneys have been given the honor of being named Super Lawyers by Thomson Reuters. The American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys has named our attorneys 10 Best in Client Satisfaction. Speaking of personal injury, Attorney and Practice Magazine awarded our attorneys with Top 10 Personal Injury Attorney distinctions. The National Trial Lawyers, as well as the American Academy of Attorneys, have named two of our attorneys as Top 40 Under 40. Our attorneys have been recognized as Best Attorneys of America, by Rue Ratings. PMR Law is a proud member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocate Forum.