Why Agreeing To A Quick Settlement May Cost You
A question we get from time to time is “Should I speak to the Insurance Adjuster or my Lawyer first?”
You were involved in an auto accident in which you sustained injuries and damage to yourself and your vehicle. Your first instinct is to call the insurance company to inform them of what happened. But is that the right procedure? Sure, you absolutely need to report the crash to your insurance company. What happens when you share too much information? What happens when the insurance adjustor uses your words against your injury and property claim? What happens based on the information the adjustor obtains from you causing them to peg the amount of payment for your claims to an absurdly low level that is far below your actual incurred injuries and damages?
Don’t think it can happen? You don’t believe an insurance company could do that? You think your insurance company is the greatest thing since sliced bread and would never throw you under the bus like that. It happens more than you think. Remember the insurance company’s main purpose is to protect its investors by controlling the amount of money paid out for claims.
So what do you do?
Well, when you must speak with an adjustor do so at an arms-length…meaning, for the limited purpose of setting up a claim. Be very hesitant to agree to a recorded statement. You may give them your contact information, but be brief with your story. If they insist on a more detailed explanation of the accident or your injuries advise them you’d be happy to share more after speaking to your lawyer.
The adjuster may seem friendly and concerned with your situation, but his/her job is to ultimately settle the matter in the quickest and most cost efficient way they can. And, those questions they ask you may seem innocent enough until you answer the wrong way. Yes, you may need the payout quickly to cover hospital costs, vehicle repairs or other incurred expenses, but as I stated before the adjuster doesn’t work for you nor do they have your best interest at heart.
Whenever you are unsure you should always consider discussing your case with a personal injury attorney before agreeing to any amount from an insurance adjuster. The majority of ethical lawyers will tell you up front if there is a benefit to hiring them and what the value of your case might be based on their professional experience.
Some insurance claims adjusters will simply send you a letter or call you to tell you they are personally handling your claim and you don’t need a lawyer. I’ve even heard of some adjusters who will settle an amount and send you a check without even seeing you, knowing what your injuries are or the damage to your vehicle. Is that what you really want to happen?
Settling a claim quick may seem attractive at first, but if it turns out your injuries are more substantial than originally thought…you are out of luck. Bottom line: seek a consult with a personal injury attorney before agreeing to any amount from an adjuster.
If your injury occurred in Indiana, call the professional personal injury lawyers at the Law Office of David W. Holub at (219)736-9700 today.