If you have been injured in an accident caused by the negligence or recklessness of another party or parties, you are likely going to have to deal with that other party’s insurance company. This is what usually happens in car accident claims, premises liability claims, slip and fall accidents, and more. One of the first things a personal injury attorney will advise their clients is to never speak with the other party’s insurance company without the knowledge of your attorney. To do so could seriously jeopardize your claim. There are several reasons for this advice.
Your symptoms may be delayed. It is not uncommon for symptoms of injuries to be delayed for a couple of days after the incident. If you speak to an insurance adjuster within a day or two after the accident, you may be experiencing mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. This could lead you to tell the adjuster that you suffered no serious injury in the incident. Now your statement is on the record. But several days later, painful symptoms begin and your doctor confirms a serious injury. However, you are already on record telling the insurance adjuster you are okay, which they can now use as evidence against you to deny your claim.
Not enough information about your injuries. Even in situations where you know you have been injured, the extent of those injuries may not be known until you have been fully evaluated by a doctor.
Emotional and/or physical condition: One of the reasons why insurance companies contact victims within a day or two of an incident is they know that many times these victims may not be thinking clearly so soon after the accident, either because of physical pain and/or the traumatic experience they have experienced. You may even be on strong painkillers. This could lead you to say something that could be used to deny your claim.
Your guard may be down: Insurance adjusters are trained to manipulate victims into saying things that could actually hurt their case. They act friendly and concerned about your condition when the reality is that their primary concern is to save their company money by not paying injury claims. You may say something that could make it sound as if you are admitting fault to the incident, such as saying you are sorry the accident happened.
Another tactic an insurance adjuster may try is to tell a victim that they need to make a statement in order to start the claim. But keep in mind that the insurance adjuster cannot force you to make a statement nor can he or she record any conversations with you without your permission. When the insurance company contacts you, it is in your best interest to tell the person on the other end of the phone that you will be consulting with a Glendale personal injury lawyer before you make a statement to them.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Hickey & Turim for their insight into personal injury.