If you or someone you love has been in a car collision in Huntsville or anywhere in Alabama, you need to hire skilled and trial-tested auto accident lawyers from Huntsville to help. Otherwise, you are taking your chances with the attorneys and claims adjusters from the insurance companies. The insurance companies do not want to pay your claim, do not want to pay your medical bills, do not want to pay for your car repair. Alabama law requires that they pay claims, but they do not WANT to.
You do not have to fight the insurance companies alone. Protect yourself by hiring excellent auto wreck attorneys who can help. In this two-part series, we are discussing some of the common tactics and dirty tricks used by insurances companies to delay your claim, deny your claim, and under-pay your claim. This Part I discusses the tactics used in the few days after the accident; Part II discussed tactics used later in the claims settlement process.
Dirty Tricks by Insurance Companies Saying You do Not Need a Lawyer
In the first few days after an auto wreck, particularly where there are serious injuries, the adjuster from the insurance company will make contact. He or she will be nice and polite and will sound like he or she is on your side, but never believe that. The adjusters work for the insurance company.
The most common dirty trick used at the beginning is for the adjuster to say “you don’t need an attorney.” In fact, often, they go further and say that having a lawyer will be “bad for you” or a lawyer will “take all your money.” That is a dirty trick and bad advice. That is only good advice for the insurance company.
A good lawyer expects to be paid; but a good lawyer is also worth what he or she is paid. Many non-lawyers do not fully understand the value of their case. You may think $25,000 is terrific and more money than you might have ever seen. But maybe your case is worth $100,000. A good lawyer can maximize the settlement of your case. No one could argue that $25,000 is better than $100,000. Even if the lawyer is being paid one-third, $67,000 is better than $25,000.
Dirty Tricks by Insurance Companies: Preying on Your Bravery
Shortly after the accident, the insurance adjuster calls you on the phone or “stops by” to visit. Despite what they might say, they are not calling or stopping by out of kindness. They are doing their job for the insurance company. What you say is possible ammunition for the insurance company to use against you.
One of the worst dirty tricks by insurance adjusters when they call or visit is to prey on your bravery. This is used a lot with men. Most people — and men in particular — do not want to seem weak and want to put on a “brave face.” Insurance adjusters know this and prey on that feeling.
It is really simple and easy for the adjusters. They just ask, nice and polite: “How are you today?” And then: “How are you feeling today?” Those questions sound like normal nice questions, but if you say “I am fine” like most people do, you have given the insurance company ammunition. Insurance adjusters are trained to get that ammunition from you.
Dirty Tricks by Insurance Companies: Preying on Your Niceness
In the same way, adjusters prey on your niceness during the phone call or visit. Most people try to be nice and try to be reasonable and the insurance companies and their adjusters/lawyers prey on that niceness. If you do not have a lawyer to give advice and explain the law, you might be duped into saying something that will hurt your case. As an example, the adjuster might ask: “Who was at fault?” You say: “The other driver.” Then the adjuster asks, very nice and sweet: “Do you think, maybe, you could have done anything differently to avoid the accident?” That is a completely loaded question. If you say “yes” and then mention something like “pay more attention” or “watch more closely,” then you have given the insurance company ammunition to defeat your case.
Dirty Tricks by Insurance Companies: Asking to Record the Over-the-Phone Statement
It may seem reasonable to a non-lawyer that the insurance company is asking to record your statement. It is not reasonable at all. The adjuster will make it seem normal, will say “everyone typically agrees” and may even imply that the law REQUIRES you to agree to have your statement recorded.
Do not believe the adjuster and do not agree to be recorded. You do NOT have to be nice to the adjuster. Being nice will not get the insurance company to pay you more money.
Dirty Tricks by Insurance Companies: Asking for a Written Statement
Another dirty trick used early right after the accident is to ask for a “written statement” or a “letter” explaining what happened. This is just another way for the insurance company to prey on your niceness, your bravery and your status as a non-lawyer. You will inevitably say something in the letter that gives the insurance company ammunition. Worse still, if the insurance company asks you to sign a statement that THEY prepared. Never, under any circumstances, sign something given to you by an insurance company without having a lawyer look at it and do not send any sort of written statement.
Contact Our Huntsville, Alabama Accident and Personal Injury Lawyers
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a car wreck, do not talk to the insurance adjuster without first talking to an experienced Huntsville and Madison County personal injury and accident attorney like the ones at Hornsby, Watson & Hornsby. When the adjuster calls or visits, tell them that Hornsby, Watson & Hornsby is YOUR Huntsville auto accident law firm. Call today. You can email us or call (256) 414-9803, toll free (866) 986-1371. Contact us today.