When you suffer injuries in a preventable car accident, the party at-fault can be held liable for the harm and damages you suffer. While you may file a claim against the negligent driver who caused your accident, it will most likely be handled by the company from which they purchased their auto insurance. These insurance companies are corporations, and they are driven by their financial interests. Because your claim against their policyholder is in direct conflict with these interests (if you win, they pay), they will often go to great lengths in order to pay you as little as possible – even if that means keeping certain facts or information from you that would help you better understand your rights and protect your ability to secure the compensation you deserve.
At Hare, Wynn, our car accident lawyers are all too familiar with the tactics insurance companies use to overpower injured individuals when they dispute, deny, or underpay valid claims. We have dedicated our professional careers to fighting for the injured and their families, and to helping our clients level the playing field with the powerful insurance providers they face off against in personal injury cases. To help you better understand your rights, we’ve provided a list of a few things insurance companies would rather you didn’t know:
- Insurance companies are not on your side – Catchy marketing jingles aside, you should understand that insurance companies are not on your side, especially if you have been harmed by one of their insured drivers. Insurance providers prioritize profits over people, and they want nothing more than to pay you less. As such, they are quick to use anything they can against you when defending against your claim, and may use certain tactics to aid them in gathering statements or evidence (however misconstrued) that enable them to do just that.
- You don’t have to provide a recorded statement – Having accident victims make a recorded statement is one glaring example of the tactics insurance companies use to bolster their own interests. If an insurance adjuster contacts you and asks you to provide a recorded statement, you have the right to politely refuse. Unfortunately, many victims who are unfamiliar with the personal injury process do engage in recorded conversations because they feel it’s required or standard procedure. The truth is that these recorded calls are exploratory missions where adjusters hope you will say something that can be used to diminish the value of your claim, even if your statements were made by mistake or taken out of context. Rather than provide a statement, you can work with an attorney who can handle all interaction and communication with adjusters and representatives on your behalf.
- You don’t have to accept early offers – Insurance companies want to capitalize on victims’ lack of familiarity with personal injury law. That means they might attempt to discuss settlement offers early on in the process. You do not have to accept these offers, and should consult with a lawyer who can help you determine whether or not they meet your needs. If you accept an initial offer without knowing the full scope of your injuries or damages, and which proves to be less than you need, you may be on the hook for covering those costs on your own.
- They can surveil you – Insurance representatives will not be quick to tell you that it is within the law for them to request and conduct surveillance. This may not be a common tactic, but it is has been used in certain situations, such as when a plaintiff has prior personal injury cases or pre-existing injuries. You have the right to know they can legally follow your activities, and use information they collect against you.
- Delay or denial doesn’t mean you have no case – As mentioned, insurance companies want to pay you as little as they possibly can. Sometimes, this means delaying or denying a case – which does not mean your claim isn’t a valid one. In fact, delays and denials can be strategic for insurance companies, especially when they believe a case is challenging, that it could potentially result in significant damages they’ll have to pay, or because they simply want to compel plaintiffs into taking a case to trial or accepting a lower settlement to put an end to the drawn out process and headaches.
- You can work with a lawyer – One of the easiest ways insurance companies can succeed in paying you less than you deserve is to capitalize on your lack of legal representation. This means they don’t want you to work with an attorney, and will often try to “work with you” directly to quickly settle your claim, even if you don’t yet know all of your damages, whether a settlement is fair, or what you may be entitled to under the law. Because personal injury cases are complex, especially when you are physically recovering, it is in your best interests to work with a lawyer who can help level the playing field with insurance companies and fight for the full and fair financial recovery you need.
Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton has cultivated a legacy for our ability to help clients fight back against the insurance companies they face off against in auto accident cases. Through the application of our extensive experience, resources, and litigation skills, we have been able to successfully recover millions of dollars in compensation for our clients since 1890. Let us put our abilities to work for you. Call 800-568-5330 to learn more about your auto accident case and how we can help. Our firm proudly serves clients from multiple office locations in Alabama, Arkansas, and Kentucky.
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