How to Handle the Insurance Companies after an Accident
April 13, 2017
If you were injured in an accident, it is important that you file a report with your insurance provider as soon as you are able.
Although an insurance provider is meant to help you after an accident, it will assign an adjuster to evaluate your claim.
The insurance adjuster will collect any information regarding the accident, including who was involved, details about your injury and any property damage that might have occurred.
However, you should be extremely cautious about any information you provide to an insurance adjust. The adjuster’s job is to save money for the insurance company, and he or she will use every possible tactic to achieve this goal.
The adjuster will take advantage of any opportunity to lower your compensation or have your claim dismissed altogether. This can include downplaying the severity of your injuries or disputing the facts surrounding your accident.
It is always highly recommended that you consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer before cooperating with an insurance company.
What You Should Say to Insurance Companies
The tips below will provide you tips on the best way to handle any conversation with an insurance company.
Be Careful of What You Say
An insurance adjuster has no legal obligation to you. His or her job is to minimize the value of your claim, and he or she will use your own words against you to make this happen.
Whether an adjuster acts friendly towards you or is speaking in a casual manner, remember that everything you say is being evaluated and later applied to decreasing the value of your claim.
You should be direct with an adjuster and never lie about or embellish the events that occurred. The only things you should tell the adjuster are the facts as you remember them.
Never Minimize Your Injuries
Some people naturally downplay the severity of their injuries by saying “I’m fine” or “it is not that serious” without considering the consequences of these statements.
Minimizing the severity of your injuries is detrimental to your claim and will have a serious effect on an insurer’s decision regarding your claim.
The insurer may think that your injuries are not serious and will deny compensation for any medical treatment listed in your claim.
Speak Off the Record
An insurance adjuster may try to record your conversations. While this may seem like part of an official process, it is instead used to analyze your statement for any inconsistencies or reasons to deny your claim.
Although you are obligated to cooperate with your insurance company, you do not have to do anything you are not comfortable with. If you do not want to have your conversation recorded, you can politely refuse. Your conversation can only be recorded with your consent.
Never Submit a Written or Recorded Statement Alone
An insurance company will most likely attempt to recover a written or recorded statement from you concerning your accident.
You are well within your rights to refuse any proposal made by an insurance company regarding a documented statement.
The only time you should ever consent to providing an official statement is after you have consulted with an experienced personal injury attorney.
A skilled attorney will efficiently prepare you for providing a statement. An attorney will know which questions the insurer will ask and will be able to carefully craft a statement that will not affect your claim.
You Can Refuse to Speak with an Insurer
While you will need to speak carefully with your own insurance provider, you are not required to speak with the other party’s insurer.
If you were injured in a serious car accident in Phoenix, AZ and the other driver’s insurance provider attempts to contact you, you may refuse to speak about the incident.
By hiring a personal injury attorney, you are providing a legal barrier between you and the insurance company. An attorney will speak with an insurer on your behalf and while placing your best interests at the front of each conversation or negotiation.
Make Sure You Receive the Compensation You Deserve
It is likely that the insurance company will attempt to settle your claim as quickly as possible.
However, you should never forget that insurance companies work only for their best interests. This means that their initial settlement offer may be low in order to minimize the company’s payout. You should always make sure the full costs of your injuries are covered before accepting any claim offer amount.
That is why you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney immediately following your accident. An attorney will help ensure you receive the compensation you need in a fair settlement that accurately reflects the damages you suffered.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If an insurance company offers you an unfair settlement, or if your claim has been denied, you can choose the option of filing a lawsuit against the other party to obtain the compensation you need.
Arizona follows the rule of comparative negligence when determining compensation and liability in personal injury claims. This means that as long as a court finds you are less than 51 percent responsible for your injuries, you retain the right to seek compensation.
To file a lawsuit in Arizona, you must bring your claim within the two-year statute of limitations. This deadline will begin on the date in which your accident first occurred, or when you first became aware of your injury.
If you are attempting to file a claim, you must do so within the two-year deadline. If you wait until the deadline has passed, you lose the option of filing a claim to bring a lawsuit for compensation.
Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys
Do not let an insurance company pressure you into accepting an unfair settlement or manipulate you into causing your own claim to be denied.
At Phillips Law Group, we have dedicated our legal practice to helping personal injury victims throughout Arizona for more than two decades.
Our accomplished attorneys will work with you to ensure your rights are protected against the insurance companies. We will provide you with a free, no obligation consultation to review your claim and determine which options are available for you to proceed on.
If you choose to retain our services, we will not charge you any upfront legal fees. We work only on a contingency fee basis, which means the only time you have to pay us is if we recover damages for your claim.
Do not speak with an insurance company without help. Call 1-800-706-3000 for experienced legal assistance.
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