A car accident is never something for which you make a plan. Everyone is well aware that there is a good chance they will be involved in at least one accident at some point in their life. The hope is always that when that day comes, you only suffer minor damages. Some people may do some research, but nobody is ever really prepared. After an accident, you will likely be disoriented, which makes it quite easy to make one of these six common mistakes.
When going up against an insurance company after an accident, you are at a disadvantage on many different levels. You are quite possibly injured and not in your best frame of mind. There is a good chance this is your first accident, while the insurance adjuster does their role every day. The insurance adjuster also has specific training in trying to trick you into making a mistake that devalues your claim.
Here we present you with six of the most common mistakes that people make when dealing with an insurance adjuster after an accident and how best to avoid them.
1. Filing an Insurance Claim Too Quickly
When involved in an accident, you are going to want to exchange insurance information with any other drivers involved in the crash. Learn more about the documents you should always have on you when driving, which are your driver’s license, car registration, and proof of vehicle insurance. After the crash, if the other driver was at fault for the accident, you are going to want to file a claim with their insurance.
A problem that many drivers face is that they file the claim too quickly. There is a statute of limitations on filing a claim, so you can’t wait forever. However, that time period is typically years, not days. When drivers file a claim too quickly, it often comes back to bite them. They later realize that the claim didn’t come anywhere near covering all of the costs that they accrued from the accident.
Many serious injuries are not immediately diagnosed after an accident. It can take a few weeks before all of the damage that has been done, is fully uncovered. Those who filed too quickly may find that they have missed the chance to get these other injuries covered.
Insurance adjusters are aware of all of these things. That is why, if they know their client is at fault, they may contact you on the day of the accident, before you get in touch with them.
2. Accepting a Settlement Offer Too Soon
Often an insurance adjuster will offer you a settlement the first time they speak to you. Never accept that first offer and do not engage in discussions about counteroffers. The initial offer is typically far below what you can get if you aren’t overhasty. You have no way of knowing the full worth of your claim so early in the process.
In addition to medical expenses that have not presented themselves yet, there may be many secondary costs like lost wages or pain and suffering costs.
3. Giving a Recorded Statement
An insurance agent is likely to push you for a recorded statement of the incident. They will claim that the purpose of this is to help in determining liability. However, the true intent of the statement is to trick you into saying something that you shouldn’t. They will ask leading questions and try to get you to say things that they can use against you to devalue your claim.
Don’t ever give an insurance adjuster a recorded statement. Politely decline and end the conversation. The less you talk to an insurance adjuster in general, the better your position.
4. Posting on Social Media
Social media has become a huge part of the world in which we live. Many people post all about their lives on one platform or another, so, of course, they would post about a big car accident in which they were involved. However, a seemingly harmless post can have devastating effects on your insurance claim. Your words and photos can potentially be used to devalue your claim in a variety of ways.
After an accident, avoiding social media altogether is going to be your best course of action. At the very least, you should switch all of your privacy settings to the highest level. There have been cases where private accounts were opened to the court, but those are very rare. To be on the safe side, though, a social media blackout is the way to go.
5. Giving Authorization for Releasing Medical Records
An insurance adjuster will often request access to your medical records so they can see the files for the damages you are claiming from the crash. This request may seem innocent enough, but it is far from it. They will use your authorization to comb through all of your medical records. Every single item in your medical history, going back to when you were born.
The purpose of this search is to find anything they can use against you. They will look for anything that might suggest a preexisting condition that contributed to your injuries and undervalue your claim in this way. Deny any requests for medical records.
6. Not Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
Choosing not to hire an attorney can be an incredibly costly mistake. Many people think that hiring a lawyer will cost too much money, and insurance adjusters will often try to nurture this idea. However, most personal injury lawyers will work on a contingency basis, which means that they don’t get paid unless you do.
Some people still think that the amount of their eventual fee will eat away far too much of the money gained in the settlement. In reality, people who hire an attorney often get several times the amount they would have gotten without one. So, even after their fee, the client has a much higher settlement amount.
Hiring a qualified personal injury attorney helps to level the playing field. It is no longer a professional insurance adjuster against an amateur victim. Instead, it’s two pros giving it their all. Hiring an attorney has the added benefit of giving you the peace of mind of knowing there is someone taking care of things with the insurance company and that you don’t have to. You can just sit back, relax, and focus on your recovery.