Making even one of these mistakes can reduce your final auto accident injury settlement or eliminate it entirely.
Mistakes Car Accident Injury Victims Make
Ever been in a situation where you know your every move will be scrutinized? And, that you have a high probability that no matter what you do next will be the wrong thing?
Maybe you had a boss like that. Or, maybe you’ve been in that situation with your spouse.
That’s kind of what it’s like with the insurance company after a car wreck. They’re looking for you to make a mistake. They scrutinize your every move, greedily rubbing their hands, ready to smite you the second you mess up.
While insurance companies have great power, you the consumer have power too. And as long as you’re careful, you won’t make any mistakes that could negatively impact the value of your case.
Avoid making these:
Making A Recorded Statement After Your Automobile Accident
In only one situation should you ever make a recorded statement after your car accident: when the facts of your case can’t be argued. For example, you got rear-ended by someone going 45 mph while you sat stopped at a traffic light.
Aside from blatantly obvious circumstances, you shouldn’t make a recorded statement to the insurance company. The claim adjuster’s job is to ask you questions to get you to say things in ways that harm your credibility.
They do this 40-60 hours per week for years on end, so they’re pretty good at it. If a recorded statement is absolutely necessary you should make sure you have a personal injury lawyer participating so they can make sure the claims adjuster is asking you fair questions.
Delaying Medical Treatment
It’s scary immediately after an auto accident. You know the financial damage will be intense. But, you don’t know what it’s going to be or how you’ll be able to afford it.
So, it’s easy to convince yourself to delay or skip medical treatment. Insurance companies love it when you do this because delaying treatment can be used against you later on. They’ll say that if you’re really hurt, why would you wait to get medical attention?
Seeing the Insurance Company’s Doctor
Current law allows you to see any doctor you want for your injuries. The insurance company pays their doctors, and the doctors know that. If the doctors find things that don’t support the insurance company, they lose their revenue.
Insurance companies will imply you can only see the doctor they choose. But, law doesn’t require that at all. See the doctor you want so you get a fair and objective point of view.
Signing a Release of Your Full Medical Information
It’s okay to sign a form to release the medical information related to your current accident. However, insurance companies may send a release for all of your medical information.
They want access to all of your past medical records – whether relevant or not – to try and suggest your injuries or damages were related to a pre-existing condition.
Insurance Companies Want You to Act Fast, So Take Your Time
When you get hurt, you’ll be surprised at the initial kindness of the insurance adjuster. You’ll also notice how quickly they can get you payment – literally within just a week of your car accident.
Don’t fall for it! It’s all a ruse. They’re trying to play you for a fool.
They know you’re more likely to make a mistake and let something slip by that harms your settlement when you act fast. And, they also know you’re more forthcoming with information when they’re so nice.
Give them the facts. Think things through carefully before you act. And talk to a Dallas injury lawyer if you feel overwhelmed.
Shane V. Mullen is an attorney licensed by the State of Texas for the general practice of law, and the Managing Partner at Mullen & Mullen Law Firm in Dallas, TX. His firm focuses exclusively on personal injury law and has been in business for 40 years. Before becoming a lawyer, Shane worked for his father as an accident injury claims investigator.