One of the most difficult things in the wake of an auto accident is dealing with the insurance company. There will likely be two insurance companies involved and each will want to write the smallest check possible or not even write a check at all. As a result, insurance companies will resort to many different methods to keep their tab lower. While insurance companies are not uniformly unscrupulous, they are still businesses that must make profits. Bear in mind that insurance companies do not make large profits by writing large checks. As a result, their interests are not perfectly aligned with those who they insure.
After an auto accident, each driver will report their version of the facts to their own insurance company. The two companies will then hash out what happened and try to establish between them who was responsible for the accident. There may be two insurers involved, but only one of them must be dealt with. This will counsel how an insurance company is to be addressed after an accident.
Be Careful When Talking to the Insurance Company
After the accident, one of the first calls that was made was to the insurance company. In this call, make sure to keep calm and be carefully guarded with what is said. Insurance companies will use the same rules that police use, meaning that anything that is said can and will be used against you. While the insurance company should never be lied to, be careful about giving the insurance company a statement at the scene of the accident. Emotions are still generally high right after being in an auto accident and if a statement is given at that time, it can become part of the record. While insurance companies can generally be told some facts at the scene, you should never admit any liability for the accident. There may be some trouble walking the statement back as time goes on because what is said at the scene is a contemporaneous record.
Your Insurance Is a Business and not a Friend
While you are a customer of the insurance company, also bear in mind that they are not your friend in this case. Be cautious when talking with your own insurance company because they may use anything that they can to reduce the amount of the check that they have to write you. You must give a full accounting of what happened, but make sure that you stick only to the exact facts of what happened. Just speak to what you are certain of and do not speculate.
Be wary of the Other Driver’s Insurance
In the days after an accident, you may be contacted by the other driver’s insurance. This is where you must be very careful. Insurance companies have been known to use subterfuge to get you to talk and make an admission that goes against your interest. They may use a guise or artifice to get you to trust them, which may be coupled with a threat. Remember that you are under no obligation whatsoever to talk to the other driver’s insurance. Do not feel the need to persuade them of what happened. That could fall to your insurance company because you will likely never be able to win an argument with another driver’s insurance.
The Adjuster Is the Gatekeeper
When you meet with the adjuster, also make sure to remain professional while keeping your guard up. The adjuster is the first line of defense for the insurance company. They are well-trained at their jobs and know not to write the biggest possible check at first. In fact, they are looking at your claim as a negotiation and their initial settlement offer is meant to be the opening offer. Do not feel pressured to take what the adjuster gives you. Know that their word is not final on the value of your car accident claim.
Be on the Lookout for a Lowball Offer
More broadly, you should not always take what the insurance company initially gives you. You may only have one claim in your life, but the insurance company does this on a daily basis. They know exactly what your claim is worth and you may not. This means they have superior information to you, which should make you suspect of their initial offer. Insurance companies make money by settling your claim for less than it is worth. They are banking on the fact that you may never know the true value of your claim. As such, you should almost always reject the insurance company’s first offer and try to negotiate the claim higher.
Hiring an Attorney Is Helpful
It is generally very helpful to hire an auto accident attorney early in the process to help you deal with the insurance company. The company will generally have a battery of attorneys on their side who do nothing but insurance defense cases. This means they know their jobs well and you will be at a disadvantage to them unless you have legal counsel of your own. Insurance companies tend to treat claimants differently when they know that there is a lawyer involved because they are aware that the attorney will be looking at claims closely.
At the same time, having an attorney handle the process of dealing with the insurance company will alleviate some of the stress that is involved. This is particularly helpful when dealing with the aftermath of a car accident where there may be physical injury and emotional trauma. While there may be a temptation to handle the process on your own, an attorney can help ease the burden and get you a better settlement than you could have gotten on your own. At the very minimum, they will be able to assess whether the settlement offer made by the insurance company is fair and reasonable.
Are You Looking For a Car Accident Lawyer?
The attorneys at the Eichholz Law Firm are experienced in helping accident victims throughout every step of the process, including dealing with insurance companies. They will keep the pressure on the insurance company to be fair with their client. If the insurance company still does not offer a fair settlement, then the Eichholz Law Firm can litigate the case in court on your behalf.
Our law firm offers legal assistance for anyone injured in a car accident and is insured by any car insurance company such as:
- State Farm
- Liberty Mutual
- Farmers Insurance
- American Family
- And more
Call today at (855) 551-1019 or fill out an online form.
- Nolo. “Tips for Negotiating With an Insurance Company”, Nolo, https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/negotiating-with-insurance-company-29765.html. Accessed July 9, 2019.
- AllLaw. “Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer Or Handle Your Own Claim?”, AllLaw, https://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/personal-injury/handle-your-own-claim-hire-lawyer.html. Accessed July 9, 2019.