There is often a lot of anxiety and confusion after a car crash. This may cause victims to make various mistakes that could hurt their chances of recovering fair compensation for their damages. Many of these mistakes involve interactions with insurance companies that are out to save themselves money.
A car accident lawyer in Harrisburg from Schmidt Kramer can explain how insurance companies may try to deceive you and what you can do to help protect your claim.
Taking the Adjuster’s Word for It
The insurance adjuster may express concern for your health and act friendly. However, it is important that you do not get tricked by this approach. The insurance adjuster is hired by the insurance company to minimize the value of your claim, so he or she will take steps to try to convince you that your claim is worth less than you think.
The insurance adjuster may try to convince you that the accident is not covered under the policy or that it is only worth a certain amount. They are not required to volunteer information about the policy, so if you do not ask, you likely will not know what the policy covers.
Taking the First Settlement Offer
Once an insurance company offers a settlement, you may be tempted to take it, as medical bills are piling up and you have lost income because you could not work. However, the insurance company is merely looking to take advantage of your need for compensation, so the first settlement offer is likely to be for much less than your claim may be worth.
If you agree to the first offer, you could be signing away your right to take further legal action if you later discover that your injuries are more extensive than you believed, and you have additional bills.
That is why it is important to fully recover before you entertain any settlement offers. Only then will you have all of the information necessary to make an informed decision about your claim.
Accepting a Denial Over a Pre-Existing Condition
A common tactic that insurance adjusters use is to deny claims due to pre-existing conditions. Many claimants simply accept the adjuster’s explanation and abandon their claim. However, if you have a pre-existing condition and the accident made your condition worse or caused new symptoms, you may still be eligible to receive compensation.
Agreeing to Give a Recorded Statement
The insurance adjuster will likely claim that he or she needs a recorded statement in order to process your claim. However, you are under no legal obligation to provide such a statement.
When insurers record statements, they may ask questions designed to get you to devalue your claim or minimize your injuries. That is why they ask for a recorded statement shortly after the accident while you are still in shock and unsure of what just happened or how bad your injuries may be. Insurance companies know you may be vulnerable to leading questions or giving your opinion, which could make it seem like you are partially at fault for the crash.
How to Help Protect Your Claim
Fortunately, there are several ways that you can help your claim, such as:
Seeking Medical Help
Seeking medical attention as soon as possible can help you establish the connection between your injury and the accident. Your medical records and bills will be powerful pieces of evidence in your case.
Collecting Evidence at the Scene
Take pictures of the accident scene, including damage to your vehicle and the at-fault driver’s vehicle, any obvious injuries you have, and anything that may be relevant to your claim. Ask eyewitnesses for their contact information.
Speaking to an Experienced Lawyer
Insurance adjusters may try to convince you that you do not need a lawyer, but this is because their goal is to minimize your financial recovery. They know that claims brought by represented parties are typically for more money than those brought by unrepresented accident victims.
Your initial consultation is 100 percent free of charge and there is no obligation for you to take legal action after meeting with us.
Schmidt Kramer: (717) 888-8888. Phone lines are open 24/7.