When we pay our monthly or bi-annual premiums to our insurance companies, we expect that they will act in good faith and come through for us in the event of an accident. Unfortunately, however, not all insurance companies are focused on customer service. Instead, many would rather protect their bottom line at your expense.
Many insurance companies tell lies to their customers or claimants to pay them as low a settlement as possible. Below, our San Jose personal injury attorneys discuss three common lies told by the insurance company after a car accident.
Don’t Believe Everything the Insurance Company Tells You
After a car accident, it’s important to remember that, no matter how friendly the insurance adjuster assigned to your case may seem, they are not your friend. Their main goal is to protect as much of their employer’s money as possible. To that end, be wary of the following three lies they may say to you after a car accident.
#1. Our first settlement offer is the most you are going to get.
The insurance company’s initial offer to settle your claim is often much too low. Many insurance adjusters will try to trick you into thinking that this primary settlement offer is the most you can possibly get. A lot of injured people do not understand that they have the power to negotiate with the insurance company for a higher settlement. Because they don’t know any different, many injured people accept that first, lowball offer and as a result, insurance companies continue to make these low offers.
However, with seasoned legal representation, it’s often possible to get a settlement from the insurance company that is much higher than what they initially offer. In fact, the average settlement for an accident claim increases by $60,000 with legal representation than going through the process on your own.
Once you reject the insurance company’s initial offer, your negotiation process may involve this:
- A description of the car accident
- A detailed summary of all medical treatment you’ve received
- An itemized list of all other economic losses caused by the accident
- A summary of how the car accident has impacted your life in non-financial ways
- Your counter-offer, which is an amount you’d be willing to accept to settle your car accident claim
- Your attorney will help you determine a good amount to settle your claim
#2. You have to give us a recorded statement.
Insurance companies may tell you that you must give a recorded statement to be eligible for any settlement offer at all. Unfortunately, many accident victims believe this lie, often due to inexperience with the process.
The reason that insurance companies do this is to try to get you to admit fault for some or all of the accident on a recorded line. Once they have this statement from you, the insurance company will often use something you said to prove that you were at fault for the accident (often unreasonably so) and deny your claim.
If and when you receive a call from an insurance adjuster after a car accident, simply tell them that you will not speak to them without an attorney on the line and hang up. No matter what they try to tell you, you are not required to do anything more to recover compensation for your injuries at a later time.
#3. You don’t need an attorney.
Insurance companies dread working with attorneys because they know that they will likely have to provide much more compensation to an injured party when they have legal representation. Because of this, the insurance company may tell you that hiring an attorney is completely unnecessary, or that you must give them a recorded statement immediately (even if you have not hired an attorney yet). Both statements are lies.
Hiring an attorney is entirely necessary to recover the compensation you deserve. If you do not hire an attorney, as was outlined above, you will likely end up with a lowball settlement offer from the insurance company. Additionally, you can, and should, hire an attorney prior to speaking to the insurance company, especially before providing a recorded statement. Do not let your rights get violated.
Protecting Your Rights After a Car Accident
Keep in mind that contacting an experienced personal injury attorney after a car accident is your best way to recover the maximum possible compensation. Such compensation is vital for any medical bills and lost wages you may experience in the future.
It is also important to remember that not all injuries are immediately apparent. If you suffered a head or neck injury, for example, the symptoms of such an injury may not present themselves for weeks or months later. This is why it’s important for you to reject the insurance company’s initial settlement offer, since you may not know the full extent of your injuries and their required treatment.
At Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP, our San Jose personal injury attorneys are skilled negotiators and can work with the insurance company in the wake of a car accident while you focus on recovering from your injuries. We have recovered millions for accident victims and we’re here to do the same for you, too.
Contact Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP at (800) 900-0863 to schedule a free, confidential consultation with our team today!