Whether you are rear-ended while stopping for an interruption in the flow of traffic or T-boned in an intersection by a driver who blows through a red light, the source of your financial compensation will usually be an insurance company. While a negligent motorist who disregards the speed limit, texts and drives, operates a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or otherwise drives unsafely constitutes the primary cause of most crashes, these drivers will usually rely on their insurance carrier to handle a liability claim.
Since insurance companies defend and pay most personal injury claims, injured victims must be able to navigate potential traps and pitfalls often used by insurance carriers to defend against claims and minimize the amount paid out. Orlando Personal Injury Lawyer Mark Cressman highlights some of the common tactics used by insurers in motor vehicle accident claims in this two-part blog.
Beware of “Friendly” Insurance Adjusters: Many people involved in crashes receive phone calls from the insurance adjuster of the at-fault driver. Claims adjusters can seem helpful and friendly, but their employer’s interests are directly in conflict with you as an injury victim. The adjuster might attempt to obtain information that supposedly will be used to “handle your claim”. However, this expression really translates into “avoid paying you what you are entitled to receive.” While you must provide basic insurance, driver’s license, and contact information at the scene of an accident that causes injury, you should avoid subsequent conversations with the other driver or representatives of his or her insurance company. Relatively innocuous information often can be misconstrued to harm your claim. Discussions with the other driver and his or her insurance company should be handled by an experienced Florida Personal Injury Attorney.
Never Sign Any Paperwork without Legal Advice: There are a number of documents the other party’s insurance company might ask you to sign. For example, the insurance company might ask you to sign an authorization to release your employment or medical records. While documents revealing payroll information, time off-work, and medical treatment might facilitate evaluation of your claim, these release forms often are drafted in overly broad language. Personal injury victims might need to furnish this type of information later when making a demand for payment or during the discovery process. However, the decision to execute this type of form might let the insurance company obtain information that the carrier is not otherwise entitled to receive which is damaging to your claim. For example, the insurance company might use medical records to argue that your neck or back injury was the result of a prior accident.
Avoid Providing a Recorded Statement: Insurance companies often ask for a recorded statement, so the insurer can “get your side of the story about what happened.” While the insurer is interested in obtaining facts about the crash, the goal is to look for information that can be used to justify shifting blame to you or to reduce the amount of your recovery. Examples might include an admission that you were fatigued, speeding, or distracted. Plaintiffs are not required to provide a recorded statement unless it is part of the discovery process. A skilled personal injury attorney can protect your rights and help you avoid unnecessary damaging disclosures during discovery.
If you have been injured by the negligence of another individual, public entity or corporation, Mr. Cressman has over two decades of experience taking on large insurance carriers. His familiarity with insurance company tactics and traps can help injury victims navigate the claims process. We invite you to call to schedule a free consultation today to learn about your legal rights and obtain a case evaluation at (407) 877-7317.