After you have been in a car accident where another driver could have been at fault, you should always be wary about speaking to an insurance representative. Making certain statements or decisions without being aware of your rights could unintentionally back you into a legal corner, diminishing your ability to retrieve a fair injury claim for the full amount of damages.
Unfortunately, some insurers can take advantage of the imbalance of legal knowledge they have compared to the average car accident victim. They will mislead the accident injury victim into thinking they have to reveal certain information or agree to things like making a recorded statement.
Insurers can also make signing certain documents seem mandatory when, in reality, many of these documents are optional. In fact, signing a document like a medical release is usually not in the best interest of someone trying to recover the maximum available compensation.
Common mistakes like these can derail claims, leaving injury victims with a far lower settlement than they deserve. Victims can work with a car accident attorney in Atlanta to protect their interests and help ensure they are aware of the following five things most insurers will never tell you after your car accident.
1. You Don’t Legally Have to Tell Them Anything Other Than What Is on Your Claim and Your Accident Report
Insurance adjusters know that you are waiting for them to keep the claims process going. They may wait several days before calling you after your accident and then pepper you with “routine” questions.
Some of these questions attempt to wrestle details out of you that can affect your ability to make a strong claim. For instance, if only one injury has been reported so far, the insurer may ask, “So, was anyone else hurt in the accident?” You may be tempted to say “No,” but you don’t truly know yet! Injuries can take several days to appear after an accident, and only a medical professional can truly describe the condition of accident victims accurately.
Decline to offer up any more information than the following:
- Your name, address, phone number, and other preferred contact information
- The contact information of any occupants
- Your occupation, business address, and work contact information
- Your driver’s license number
- The time and date of the accident
- The crash report number
- That you and other occupants may or may not have injuries that you would rather not discuss until a full medical evaluation has been completed
2. Insurers Will Dispute Fault and Injuries Any Way They Can
In the above example, we mentioned how insurers may ask how everyone is doing and whether they feel hurt. The danger in answering, “No,” is that you may later find out that someone had latent injuries, such as whiplash.
Remember, too, that your medical condition will evolve over time as your injuries heal. You may encounter complications that require additional care. If you attempt to amend the record to reflect these new medical expenses after saying you weren’t badly hurt, your claim could be cast into doubt.
Another issue is that you may feel an instinctual need to be apologetic or admit some degree of fault in your accident. While you may see this as accepting responsibility, you are simply offering unneeded information that can complicate the conclusions of the police report and your attorney’s own investigations. If you feel like you made some sort of mistake, you are only obligated to admit to it if it was mentioned in some way on the police report.
Always be truthful to police who document your accident, but do not feel the need to “outbid yourself” by offering up more information than is necessary to give accurate details about the accident.
3. You Should Not Discuss Your Case or Injuries with Anyone
You may feel the need to discuss your accident or your injuries with others. You may even want to post about it on social media.
Revealing information in this way could give the wrong impression of your case, which could be in turn used to dispute fault or the extent of your injuries. Restrain your instinct to discuss the case openly with co-workers, friends, and especially insurers.
4. You Do Not Have to Sign a Medical Records Release or Make a Recorded Statement
Insurers may intimidate you into thinking that they need you to sign a full medical records release to access your clinical files. In actuality, you can often just fax them these documents or have your healthcare provider send copies. Giving access to your full medical records could allow insurers room to argue that some of your medical expenses are related to existing conditions.
Similarly, you may feel as if you have to make a recorded statement. You definitely do not! Avoid giving any recorded statement to the insurer of the driver who hit you, especially without the representation of a car accident lawyer in Atlanta.
5. You Do Not Have to Accept Their Initial Settlement Offer
Insurers trick many car accident victims into thinking that if they do not accept the first settlement offer that they get that their claim could be dropped altogether. In actuality, you have the legal right to dispute the math of the settlement offer or counter with your own offer. The company may say that their policy prevents them from negotiating, but this is almost never the case.
Work with an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer to Get Help Negotiating Your Claim
Talking to insurers is intimidating, and the average person lacks the medical and legal expertise to fully and accurately represent their own injury case.
Fortunately, you have the option of working with a legal representative. A car accident attorney in Atlanta can help you assemble a strong injury claim backed up by evidence while helping you avoid the most common mistakes.
Speak to an Atlanta car accident lawyer for free when you schedule a free consultation now. To schedule your free, no obligation case review, call 404-948-3311 or contact us today.