In a recent blog, I listed common mistakes that innocent victims make when dealing with insurance companies after being hurt in a car wreck. Aside from keeping a detailed journal of the recovery process, I recommended that medical attention and experienced legal counsel be sought immediately.
After getting a great deal of response to the article, I decided to share some additional tips to those attempting to deal with a careless driver’s insurance company. These tips will help a person avoid common mistakes that the insurance giants routinely use to their benefit in denying and minimizing claims.
Do not give a statement.
It is common for the at-fault driver’s insurance company to contact you immediately after a wreck in order to get a recorded statement. I recommend that you never give a statement until you have consulted with an experienced personal injury attorney. Although the claim representative may seem friendly, he or she is actually attempting to lock down your version of the collision. These adjusters are experienced in taking statements and the questions are sometimes confusing to benefit the insurance carrier.
Our firm allows our clients to give statements. These statements, however, are only done after the client is adequately prepared and when counsel is by your side. If any questions are asked that are irrelevant or confusing, we are there to object.
Do not give a medical authorization.
The insurance industry trend is to request a blanket medical authorization days after the wreck. This document allows the insurance company to obtain every medical record ever made about you in your lifetime. You are not required to provide this information and you should not. Insurance companies routinely go back over your medical history hoping to find similar injuries or complaints. The insurance lawyers will capitalize on prior medical care in an effort to deny your claim or minimize a settlement evaluation. Nothing good comes from providing a general medical authorization.
Once you have completed your medical care, our firm will provide the relevant medical documentation to assist in attempting to reach a settlement resolution with the insurance company. As to your past medical history, our firm will protect it and only provide when required by law. Your medical history is personal and should be guarded. Our firm strives to do this for you as we advocate your case.
Do not exaggerate.
A client that attempts to exaggerate his or her injuries and treatment will likely fail. In fact, insurance companies hope for overtreatment. If you can be portrayed as greedy and overreaching, the insurance company knows through experience that a jury will likely see this and render an unfavorable verdict.
Our firm recommends that you only get the treatment recommended by your physicians. Cases become very difficult to handle with clients that excessively treat despite no objective diagnostic findings. Although every case should be handled individually and on its own merits, the exaggeration of symptoms and treatment will always be problematic. By following these tips, a person injured by a careless driver is likely to maximize an insurance recovery. Do not let the insurance companies ever gain an unfair advantage over you.