What to Remember in the Claims Process
The personal injury claims process is complicated and confusing. The insurance companies have teams of lawyers that advise them and their adjusters. Dealing with insurance companies and adjusters can be challenging if you don’t have your own representation. If you have a personal injury claim because the insurance company’s customer hurt you, it's important to recognize that they do not represent you or your interests.
Even if you have a seemingly straightforward claim with an adjuster who seems honest and nice, there may be things you don’t know that can negatively impact the amount of your settlement. Here are three to consider.
#1. You Don’t Have to Provide a Recorded or Written Statement in Third-Party Claims
If you are making a claim against an insurance company because their customer hurt you, then you are making a “third-party” claim. The insurance adjuster may contact you to discuss your injury and say that they need a recorded statement from you. It's important to know that you are under no obligation to provide a written or recorded statement in a third-party claim, and providing a recorded statement may actually work against you in the process.
#2. You Don’t have to Accept the Insurance Company’s First Offer to Settle
If an insurance company reaches out to you with a settlement offer before you’ve hired an attorney, be careful. Their attorneys have looked at the terms and you will be bound by them if you accept. Once your claim is settled, it’s over – even if your injuries get worse. Some insurance adjusters will try to settle quickly so they don’t have to pay for your long-term medical care and lost wages from being unable to work.
It can be beneficial to have an attorney review the settlement offer on your behalf. Your attorney can help you determine if it's in your best interest to accept or if you should try to negotiate for a higher amount.
#3. You Have the Right to Hire Your Own Attorney
Some insurance adjusters will try to discourage you from hiring your own attorney. If the adjuster tells you not to hire your own attorney, that could be a sign that they know they are offering you less money than you deserve. It's important to know that you have the right to hire your own personal injury attorney who can help protect your rights and fight for a fair settlement on your behalf.
Contrary to what you may have heard, having an attorney does not mean your case will automatically go to trial or that it will take longer to settle. In fact, having an attorney may help expedite the process and increase the chance of receiving a fair settlement.
The team at Effres & Effres has over 50 years of combined experience helping protect the rights of personal injury clients. Schedule a free consultation with our team today by calling (818) 222-9720.