A car accident lawyer discusses the tricks insurance companies use to avoid paying crash victims
Many crash victims don't realize that they have options in the aftermath of a crash. Dealing directly with insurance companies is often frustrating and complicated. While you must report your crash to your own insurance company, it's never a good idea to speak to the other driver's insurance company. Moreover, you have no legal obligation to speak to them.
The other driver's insurance company will contact you and ask for a recorded statement shortly after the crash. They will likely come across as friendly and ask you to tell your side of the story. When speaking to an insurance company, you may not realize that a seemingly innocuous statement can be used against you. Insurance companies often ask trick questions to persuade you to unknowingly admit fault. Offering a recorded statement to an insurance company hurts your chances of being compensated. Here's why.
Insurance companies will downplay your injuries
It's very common for crash victims to feel fine after a wreck. Unless your injuries were serious enough to require immediate medical care, you may not realize that you were injured. This often occurs when someone sustains whiplash, a concussion, a back injury or a soft tissue injury in a crash. The insurance companies know this. That's why they want to speak to you right away. They want you to tell them that you feel fine so they can later use it against you.
Days later, you may feel some unusual aches and pains, dizziness, or fatigue. You know something isn't right. You see a doctor and find out that you sustained an injury. Your doctor advises you to get treated and take time off from work. Now what? You need compensation for your medical expenses and lost wages, but can't get anywhere with the other driver's insurance company. They argue that you're faking your injury for financial gain or that your injury wasn't linked to the crash.
Unfortunately, this scenario happens to a lot of people after a crash. It can be avoided by seeing a doctor as soon as possible, even if you feel perfectly fine. By promptly seeing a doctor, the insurance company can't ask why you waited so long to get treated. Moreover, a medical evaluation may reveal that you sustained an injury. With an official diagnosis from your doctor and proof of treatment, the insurance company can't argue that you're lying about your injury.
Insurance companies will try to trick you into accepting a lowball settlement offer
Insurance companies know that they can save a lot of money by losing a little. They know that you're claim is worth more than they're willing to offer. One common tactic insurance companies use is paying quick lowball settlements to crash victims. With medical bills piling up and no income coming in, taking any form of compensation is tempting. Once you accept a lowball settlement, it's game over, however. You'll have no chance of pursuing additional damages.
It's best to be patient and speak to an experienced car accident lawyer before accepting a settlement offer from an insurance company. In addition to your current financial losses (hospital bills, lost wages, etc.), your lawyer will factor in:
- Future medical costs and wage loss
- Non-economic damages (pain, suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, etc.)
- Home assistance - if you're unable to perform daily tasks
- Vocational rehabilitation - if you can no longer perform certain job tasks due to your injury
- Punitive damages - if your injury was caused by recklessness or maliciousness
Get an experienced New Orleans car accident lawyer on your side today
When you've been injured in a crash, there is simply too much at stake to go it alone. To get the best possible outcome for your case, it's critical to speak to an experienced car accident lawyer who can gather the facts. Attorney John S. Williams knows the tricks insurance companies use and he will not let them dictate the outcome of your case. No matter how hard the insurance companies try to downplay or deny your claim, Attorney Williams will always be one step ahead.
Take your case seriously from the start. Contact The Law Offices of John S. Williams, LLC in New Orleans online to set up your free legal consultation.