Common Misconceptions Regarding Auto Accident Claims
1. You should make a recorded statement with the insurance adjuster as soon as possible.
The insurance company and its adjusters will want you to make a recorded statement as soon as possible after the accident before you are able to consult with a car accident lawyer. Their hope is that they may be able to find a way to place you partially at fault for the accident or identify pre-existing medical conditions in order to pay you less for your personal injury claim.
Also, they may request that you sign a medical release waiver without first consulting with a personal injury attorney. Do not sign a medical release waiver without first consulting with a personal injury attorney. We have seen many times where this can compromise the value of a case where a medical release waiver was prematurely signed by a client prior to retaining representation.
Do not feel rushed, or pressured to make any decisions, statements or sign any documents prior to first consulting with a car accident lawyer.
Do not sign a medical release waiver without first consulting with a personal injury attorney
2. You don’t need an attorney unless you want to file a lawsuit.
Many clients have told us that they spoke with an insurance adjuster who told him or her that they do not need to consult with an attorney. Insurance adjusters have manuals with a variety of tactics that they will use to get an injury victim to settle prior to consulting with a lawyer.
The insurance companies know that the price of a claim goes up as soon as someone retains a lawyer. An Insurance Research Council study determined that where a lawyer is hired to handle an auto accident claim, the settlement payout is 3.5 times bigger than if a claimant handles a claim without legal representation. Therefore it is inaccurate for the adjuster to state that you do not require legal representation unless you intend to sue the other party.
Settlement payout is 3.5 times bigger than if a claimant handles a claim without legal representation.
Hiring a personal injury attorney to represent you in an accident can make sure that your medical bills are paid and that you are fully compensated for all of your injuries. It is important to note that a qualified personal injury attorney will provide a free consultation and will represent you on a contingency fee basis, which means that you do not owe a fee for services unless a recovery is made.
3. You can settle your claim more quickly if you deal directly with the insurance company.
This is a high-pressure tactic that insurance companies will often use to get an injured party to settle before they have a chance to speak with an attorney. We see it time and again where an insurance company will make a low-ball offer of $500 or $1,000 to an injured party immediately following an accident before the full extent of injuries is even known. Their goal is to quickly settle the personal injury claim for less than full value before the injury victim has time to consult with a personal injury attorney. An adjuster will pressure the injured party to take this inadequate offer.
You do not have to take the first offer or any offer that the insurance company submits for your review. If an offer is made, we strongly encourage you to reach out to a personal injury attorney first for a free consultation to determine if you have received a reasonable offer. In almost all cases, the first offer will be inadequate to cover medical bills or to fully compensate an injury victim for his or her injuries.
4. If you are not at fault for an accident and you make a claim through your own insurance company, your insurance premium will increase.
This is a common concern of clients that if they make an uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage claim through their own insurance company, that their insurance premium will increase. Your rates can only go up if you are found at fault for an accident.
Approximately one in four drivers in California are uninsured. Therefore, we often have clients who have to use their own uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage for an accident that is not their fault. At these times, clients are particularly concerned that their insurance rates will go up if they choose to use their uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. However, that’s exactly why we purchase such coverage, to use at times when we are unfortunate enough to be hit by an uninsured or underinsured motorist.
Many clients who must use their own coverage for a personal injury claim also initially question why they would need to hire a lawyer, since they are making a claim with their own insurance company. All insurance companies aim to take in more premiums than they pay out in claims.
Even though you are a paying customer, your insurance company will still seek to pay you as little as possible for your personal injury claim. Hiring an auto accident treatment can frequently be in your best interest to ensure that you receive maximum compensation for your injuries and pain and suffering.
Under California law, the insurance company cannot raise your rates and single you out for a rate hike simply because you choose to use your own coverage for an accident where you were found not to be at fault.
What To Do If You Have Questions
If you have been in an accident, contact the car accident lawyers of Nadrich & Cohen, LLP now for a free consultation. We specialize in auto accidents and can provide you with a free and confidential case evaluation.