As I was pondering the subject of my next blog entry today, I got a call from a client who was just involved in an auto accident a few days ago. The facts of the accident clearly suggest that the other party is responsible for the accident and she is badly injured. Her and her passengers were all taken to an emergency room and have been unable to go to school or work since the day of the accident. What she told me next is what gave me the idea to write this entry.
The day after the accident, and soon after her release from the emergency room, an adjuster from the responsible person’s insurance company, paid her visit at her house. He took pictures of her injuries and insisted to get a recorded statement from her regarding the facts of the loss, her injuries, medical treatment and a whole list of other things that had nothing to do with the accident or her claim. Although, she was initially impressed by the speed with which her claim was being handled, she soon began to feel pressured and intimidated by the aggressiveness of the insurance company’s tactics. Within two days she gets a settlement offer and is told that all she needs to do is to sign a document to receive a check to pay her bills.
Even though, I have heard this story many times in the past, it still infuriates me to hear it every time. Unfortunately, in an ongoing effort to limit payout on claims, adjusters often use unethical, immoral and sometimes illegal tactics to secure an early settlement. When an insurance company adjuster, attorney or representative makes such a quick offer, it should raise a red flag in your mind. You should ask yourself; why are they in such a rush? What other expenses and costs am I going to incur in the future? What is the true extent of my injuries? What are my rights? These are the types of questions that an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you get answers to.
Regardless of what an insurance company offers you, you should always consult with an attorney as soon as possible. Just remember you have the right to be represented by a lawyer. Why not exercise this right?