How Insurance Companies Handle Personal Injury Claims
If you’re seeking compensation for a personal injury, you’ll likely have to deal with some type of insurance company. You need to know what an insurance company is trying to achieve during settlement negotiations and understand your rights as a victim.
An insurance adjuster will investigate the case and determine how much it’s worth. They are interested in keeping compensation as low as possible for their company and ultimately want to avoid a lawsuit. Legal fees and costs associated with trials can be expensive for insurers, and they don’t want to risk larger payouts in the event a jury is sympathetic to the plaintiff.
An offer made to the plaintiff by an insurance company can be appealing, since it avoids the time and cost of a trial, but it may be very low. It’s wise to consult with a personal injury attorney and get expert advice on what you should do before proceeding.
Navigating the First Phone Call
An insurance adjuster will probably call the day you get home from an accident. This first phone call is important, and you shouldn’t take it lightly. Even if you are angry about the accident, you need to remain calm and polite while speaking with the adjuster. Believe it or not, your likability comes into consideration when an adjuster gives a settlement offer.
Before you give any information, take control of the phone conversation and get the name, address, and phone number of the person you’re speaking with, as well as the insurance company that employs the adjuster. The only information you’re required to give to them is your name, address, and phone number. You don’t have to answer any questions about your work or your income, but be polite when refusing to give this information.
Some insurance adjusters will try to convince you to give a statement about how the accident happened or ask for details about what happened. Politely refuse to discuss any facts for the time being and wait until a later date to disclose this information. You can tell them you wish to consult with your attorney before speaking with them and will make a written demand for compensation with the details of the accident in the future.
Know Your Rights
Feel free to take notes about your initial conversation to show to your attorney afterward. If the adjuster offers you a settlement during the phone call, resist the urge to say yes. The adjuster’s job is to get the quickest, lowest settlement possible before you’re aware of how much your claim is worth. If you don’t take the bait, you’ll most likely receive much more money in a future settlement.
In the meantime, your insurance company will be trying to settle your case before you hire an attorney, from day one of your accident. Negotiations with your insurance company will continue throughout the trial, as your insurance company investigates what happened and tries to come to a settlement with you out of the courtroom.
Personal Injury Lawyers on Your Side
Dealing with insurance companies can be intimidating, and it’s easy to say the wrong thing or make a simple misstep that could change the course of your settlement. While you’re not obligated to accept any of the offers given to you by your insurance company or the adjuster, you might feel pressured and confused.
If you’ve been injured and intend to go to court for compensation, don’t hesitate to contact us at Sweeney Merrigan Law today. We can walk you through all your correspondence with insurance adjusters and give you professional, expert advice about how personal injury settlements in Massachusetts work. Schedule a free consultation today to discuss your case.