Mistakes That Could Hurt Your Auto Accident Case
Insurance companies will use almost any excuse to deny or lowball an insured’s claim after an accident. And this makes perfect sense: that’s how insurance companies make money. That does not mean that these tactics are correct or even legal, and there are things a policy holder can do after a car accident to improve the chances of obtaining benefits. Not making common mistakes is one of the best ways to avoid delays or denials from the insurance company.
Whether a driver lives in Arizona or another state, the tips below generally apply in any jurisdiction. Frequent mistakes involving insurance companies fall into several categories, and although they may seem like common sense, they bear repeating:
Being rude: Your mother was right: You can catch more flies with honey. Insurance adjusters are people and they react to rudeness the same way you would; they become inflexible and unwilling to consider your point of view. In many instances, it may be best to simply work with a Phoenix car accident lawyer who will handle the insurance adjusters on your behalf.
Lying: This applies to lying on your original insurance application or during the claims process. If you are found out, your claim could be denied with little or no chance of appeal.
Talking about your case with others: This applies to almost everyone except your car accident attorney. Do not post negative remarks about your insurance company or the adjuster on Facebook, Twitter or other social media. Do not record any activity that could lead someone to conclude that you are not as injured as you claim. Don’t leave a voicemail message that could be misinterpreted. A YouTube video of you dancing the night away after claiming a back injury will not help you. Do not assume that everyone hates your insurance company; you are taking a big risk because your neighbour or best friend could be subpoenaed if your case ever goes to trial. Even talking with your own insurance agent could result in your getting bad advice – only the adjuster knows what the company is prepared to offer you.
Not doing your research: Saying you want more money for your car will seldom succeed. However, showing your adjuster Blue Book, Cars.com or Edmunds prices will support your argument for higher compensation. Similarly, know the provisions of your policy before you start arguing. You could be wrong about your coverage.
Not taking your medical treatment seriously: Missing medical appointments, failing to attend physical therapy sessions or not getting your prescriptions filled will be interpreted by the insurance company as evidence that you are not injured as badly as you claim.
Failing to document and preserve evidence: Take pictures, save all emails and voicemails, preserve medical equipment and supplies such as casts, slings and crutches. Keep all your empty pill bottles for prescriptions ordered because of your injuries. Be sure to collect and preserve all the personal information – names, addresses and phone number – from others involved in the accident or witnesses.
Signing away your rights: Insurance adjusters will ask you to accept their first offer and sign on the dotted line. Once you’ve done this, you will probably be unable to challenge the amount of the insurance company’s offer. Unless you are happy with the offer, it is a good idea to consult an experienced Phoenix car accident lawyer.
While following these tips will not guarantee a win for your personal injury claim, they will assure that you are taking the proper steps needed to preserve evidence and protect your case. Always remember that when in doubt when dealing with the auto insurance company, talk to an attorney.