It’s what you do after an accident that makes all the difference…
At one point in our lives, many of us will be involved in a personal injury accident. That’s why we have insurance. We feel safe in the knowledge that they’ll take care of all of the details for us. That’s only partially true. Actually, it’s mostly false. It’s important that you don’t find yourself getting caught up in a false sense of security. After all, the way a claim is handled depends on which side of the accident fence you’re on.
Odds are that you’re not an insurance adjuster and that you can easily fall prey to making the wrong decision in a series of very important decisions that will affect you both physically and financially.
Since the first important decision to make after an accident is whether or not to make a claim, you need professional advice. So often people are hesitant to make a personal injury claim fearing that their insurance premiums will go up or worse yet, be canceled. This is where things can go really wrong. Remember, a claim is not a lawsuit. You are entitled to file a claim with your insurance company…that’s why you have insurance! And, you need to have legal counsel to help with that claim.
First and foremost, insurance companies have a business model. They are happy to take the maximum premium and will always pay as little as possible. And, an insurance company may have a “post-claims underwriting” practice in place. This means that after years of paying premiums faithfully, should you need to make a claim, you’ll find that suddenly you are under scrutiny. Things can now get really complicated – fail to cooperate and your carrier may claim you failed to comply with the terms of your contract and will void your coverage. Again, the bottom line is that you need the professional advice of an attorney.
Your lawyer is there to help and protect you. For instance, the insurance company may ask you to make a recorded statement or a EUO (Examination Under Oath). As the claimant, you are probably required to submit to these statement(s). Of course you want to cooperate and you should. But, don’t do it alone.
It’s never a good idea to give recorded statements, especially to the at-fault party’s insurance carrier. Common sense should tell you that they don’t have your best interest in mind. This also holds true to your own carrier. Why? Because you have made a personal claim and there are settlements at stake. In fact, once you have filed your claim, your insurance company’s top interest is to save money, not spend it.
What’s your best solution? Let your attorney do the talking for you and communicate only with your attorney. Never talk to either insurance company on your own. Insurance companies refer to claims as losses and they don’t like losing money.
We hope you never need to consult an attorney because of a personal injury accident. But, if you do find yourself in a situation where you need to file a claim, remember this standard formula:
You are: suddenly injured, out of work, medicated with no means of transportation. You’re up against: a seasoned adjuster with thousands of cases behind him.
That’s why you need an attorney to look out for your best interests.