Navigating the aftermath of a car accident involves engaging with insurance companies. Understanding insurance companies in car accident cases is a process that demands a nuanced understanding of their procedures, policies, and objectives. Insurance companies play a central role in determining the financial outcomes and resolutions of car accident claims. From assessing liability to negotiating settlements, comprehending the key aspects of dealing with insurance providers is crucial for individuals seeking compensation or resolution after a collision. Understanding the principles guiding insurance companies and being aware of common practices can empower individuals to navigate the claims process more effectively. Ensuring a fair and just outcome in the aftermath of a car accident.
What to Expect When the Insurance Company Contacts You
It is common, even in very serious collisions, for an insurance representative to contact folks quite early. It is equally common for that person to sound reasonable, compassionate, and helpful. While that may be the nature of the representative, he or she has a duty to the insurance company. Someone entirely different than the representative you speak with may decide how much they can pay for your claim. Hence, do not let them deceive you into believing “everything will be all right.” It may be, but caution is a better approach.
If it is your intention to retain or consult with a car accident attorney, it is best to divulge that to the insurance company at the outset. Some insurance companies have been reprimanded for advising claimants that, “You don’t need an attorney; we will get this worked out.” Such advice has been criticized by courts as constituting the unauthorized practice of law. Employers Liab. Assur. Corp. v. Freeman, 229 F.2d 547 (10th Cir. 1955).
Giving You the Wrong Impression
It is common for insurance companies to give the impression they are thoroughly investigating your claim. Unfortunately, they are soliciting from you a recorded statement or authorizations to collect your private medical records. Insurance representatives keep “diaries” of tasks performed as they “adjust” or investigate a claim. These diaries include accounts of contacts and conversations with you or your family members. Even innocent comments such as, “How are you today?” can be construed against you, if your response was, “Fine”. If you are aware the insurance company is not your friend, it is easier to properly handle the early contacts with an insurer. Once you advise an insurance company that a car accident lawyer is representing you, all such contacts should cease. Everyone has watched criminal courtroom dramas on television. In dealing with insurance companies, remember that portion of the criminal Miranda rights that states, “Anything you say can and will be used against you”. To learn more this, check out our blog “What You Should Never Say After a Car Accident”.
Insurance companies, despite all the television ads to the contrary, are not in the business of paying claims. Instead, insurance companies are in the business of not paying claims. While an insurer may admit its insured was negligent, there may be honest disagreement and the need for representation. Even over something as simple as the value of your vehicle. Was it worth $5,000, as claimed by the insurer, or $7,500 as you claim?
How Much Information Do You Have to Give Them?
Only a car accident attorney can advise you about the boundaries of the information to which a company is entitled. Pursuing a claim inevitably discloses some private information, but there are boundaries. Only an attorney can give advice about what can help or hurt how a case is presented in a recorded statement. If you give a recorded statement, and your case does not settle, your deposition will be taken during the lawsuit. The insurance company now has two accounts to compare. People, even when telling the truth, seldom remember and recount the event the same when they tell it multiple times. To put this advantage in perspective, in most instances, an attorney can only to take the deposition of the defendant once. Why give the defendant, in this case the insurance company, the advantage of talking to you twice?
Trust a Car Accident Attorney to Help
An car accident lawyer can navigate the treacherous waters of dealing with an insurance company. Insurance representatives are well trained, and some are attorneys themselves. At the very least, they have been trained in how to save the insurance company money. Insurance representatives say or do little without reason. They calculate and design their system to pay you the least amount of money you will accept. Many insurers run the facts of your case through computer systems specifically designed to calculate a settlement or verdict value. At best, this calculation is a statistical average of what your case may be worth.
Sometimes, people do not think to hire an attorney early in the process because they hope the insurance company is accepting responsibility. People may also believe they can work through the accident on their own. Both sentiments have a degree of validity. However, you can never adequately assess if either of those are true until you are much deeper into the process of claim pursuit. Attorneys have training and experience in dealing with insurance companies and claims representatives. An attorney will have access to similar databases of information about case value. He or she will know the jurisdiction of your case and the choices of possible judges. As well as the attorneys they will hire to defend a certain insurance company. A car accident attorney may have insight into alternative claims or theories of recovery to maximize your result.
In short, the insurance companies and claims representatives have attorneys working for them. Why should you deprive yourself of the opportunity to have an attorney work for you? The key is consulting with the right attorney. One who will tell you if it is a case that can be effectively handled without legal help.
Contact our Car Accident Lawyers Today
Don’t let legal challenges overwhelm you. Contact Monsees & Mayer today for expert legal guidance and support. Let us help you understand insurance companies in car accident cases, ensuring you receive the support and representation you need during this challenging time.