Unless you have experience dealing with insurance companies, you may feel you have no choice but to trust that they are looking out for your best interests. As much as they promise to be on your side and to keep you in good hands, they are still a business whose primary aim is making money. The worst time to learn this is after you have suffered injuries in an accident.
It is true that you pay your premiums (and hope other drivers pay their premiums too) so that you will have financial coverage if you are involved in an accident that results in injuries. However, you may be surprised to learn that insurance adjusters have tricky ways of catching you off guard so their company can reduce or deny your claim.
Protect your right to a fair settlement
An accident can leave you feeling confused and off your game. You are in pain, and you likely have many worries, including how to pay you medical bills and when you will be able to return to work. This is not the ideal time to be making important decisions, and accepting a settlement from an insurance adjuster is a very important step.
So soon after your accident, you and your medical team may only be beginning to realize the severity of your injuries, and accepting a premature settlement may leave you in dire straits if medical expenses continue to pile up. Nevertheless, you may expect an insurance adjuster to drop by to speak with you, perhaps before you are even discharged from the hospital. Here are some things to keep in mind if you get such a visit:
- The claims adjuster may be friendly, but he or she is not your friend. Adjusters may use sympathy, compassion and flattery so you will let down your guard and share personal information.
- You have no legal obligation to make a recorded statement or allow the adjuster to record your conversation. Doing so could provide the insurer with information to use against your claim.
- You should refuse to sign a blank form authorizing the insurer to access your medical records. Doing so could provide the insurer with information about previous injuries that could damage your claim.
- The insurance adjuster may bombard you with requests for additional documentation. This tactic is to wear you down so you will accept the settlement offer.
The adjuster may even have a check ready to hand you for an amount the insurance company feels is fair. Before accepting the check or signing an agreement, you will want to seek the advice of an experienced Pennsylvania attorney who will take over any communication with the insurer. This will improve your chances of getting a fair settlement and relieve you of the burden so you can concentrate on your recovery.