Attorney David I. Fuchs
Jun. 14, 2018
Car Accident Law
Conversations with insurance companies are commonplace after personal injury accidents in Fort Lauderdale. You will need to talk to your own auto insurance company after a car accident in Fort Lauderdale, or your employer’s insurance company after a workplace injury. You may also need to talk to an at-fault party’s insurance company in a negligence-related incident. Knowing how to talk to insurance companies – and a few important tips to know beforehand – can help you stay in control of your future. Protect yourself from unsavory insurance practices by knowing the following facts.
First and foremost, recognize that the insurance claims adjuster (the agent responsible for your case when you call someone else’s insurance company) does not work for you. He or she works for the insurance company. The adjuster’s main goal is to get you to accept a minimal settlement to save the company money. The adjuster does not want to maximize your settlement.
Instead, it is up to you to know your rights and explore your options – with or without the insurance claims adjuster’s help. Protect yourself by staying polite during discussions with the adjuster, but not revealing too much information. Keep your answers to questions simple and truthful. Do not admit fault or speculate as to who is at fault for the accident. Instead, stick to the facts and let an investigation answer questions of fault.
Insurance claims adjusters see multiple cases across their desks every month. They were not there when the accident occurred, nor have they seen your damages in person. The insurance company is not the police or an investigation agency. All of this means that the insurance claims adjuster in charge of your case likely knows much less about your actual accident than you do.
The agent might have more experience with the insurance claims process in general, but you know more about your case. Keep this in mind as you talk to adjusters. Prepare yourself as much as possible for the conversation by gathering information about your case. Get the names of any involved parties as well as eyewitnesses. Take photographs of your property damage and/or injuries. The more you know about your accident before you call, the more confident you will feel during your conversation.
When talking to the other party’s insurance company, the agent will almost always ask you to give a recorded statement about the accident. Politely decline to do so. The law does not obligate you to agree, and the insurance company could use what you say against you later. For example, if you have not yet been to the doctor and record a statement that you aren’t hurt, then later begin feeling neck pain after your car accident and find out you have whiplash, the insurance company can use the fact that you said you weren’t injured against you.
During negotiations with an insurance company for a personal injury settlement, the company will likely use language such as, “final offer,” to push you into agreeing to the amount they’re offering. This is a common tactic that does not mean if you say no, you won’t get a settlement. If the insurance company owes you money, it cannot “rescind” a settlement offer because you turn it down. Instead, your case will go to trial for a better offer.
The possibility of the trial is why it’s important to work with an attorney on your case. David Fuchs, a personal injury lawyer in Fort Lauderdale, will help motivate the insurance company to offer a better settlement before having to go to court. The knowledge that you have legal representation and you can go to court is often enough to result in a higher settlement amount. If not, you can take the insurer to court in pursuit of fair compensation with a lawyer by your side. Contact David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A. today to schedule a free initial consultation. (954) 568-3636.