In California, everyone must carry the minimum amount of insurance required by state law. When you get into an accident with a negligent driver, you will have two insurance companies to deal with — your own, and that of the other driver. While this may sound fairly straightforward, it is not.
The insurance company, particularly the one for the other driver, is not your friend. They will try anything they can to get you to admit fault, or take your words out of context so you look like the negligent party. Many drivers are not familiar with their tactics. As such, they get tricked into providing things not required of them by law, or signing away their rights. Below are a few of the strategies these companies use to ruin your claim.
They Show Up Immediately
This may seem like a positive thing. After all, the insurance adjuster must really care about you if the or she shows up just hours after your accident. The reason for this friendly visit is to offer you a settlement before you even understand the extent of your injuries or have had time to hire a lawyer. The adjuster will tell you that you do not need a lawyer, and that you can make a settlement right away. It is important not to take this settlement before speaking to an attorney. The chances are good that it is only a small fraction of what your claim is worth.
They Want You on Record
Insurance companies for a negligent driver will almost always ask you for a recorded statement. They ask for this because they want to get you on record incriminating yourself for the accident, even if it means twisting your words. It is crucial that anyone in an accident understands that he or she is under no legal obligation to provide a recorded statement. The insurance company also has no right to ask you for it. Never, ever allow them to record you. This is something attorneys are not even allowed to ask for, and it is a dirty tactic.
They Will Ask You to Sign a Release
Lastly, nearly every insurance company representing a negligent driver will ask you to sign a release. This release allows them access to your confidential medical records and again, is something you should never give them. When they start asking for items such as these, you know that they are desperate to deny your claim or at least reduce your compensation. They will look for past medical records that explain your condition and say your injuries did not actually result from the accident. Again, they have no right to ask for this release, and you are under no obligation to provide it to them.
They Tell You Not to Speak to a California Car Accident Lawyer
Of course insurance companies do not want you speaking with a personal injury lawyer in California after your accident. An attorney will stand up for your rights and hold the insurance company accountable. Truthfully though, you should never even speak to an adjuster or anyone else from the insurance company until you have spoken with a lawyer.
If you have been hurt in an accident, do not speak to the other driver’s insurance company until you have called us at Willoughby Brod, LLP. We will fight aggressively for your rights and communicate with the insurance company on your behalf. Call us today at (800) 427-7020 or fill out our online form for more information.
(image courtesy of soren-astrup-jorgensen)