FOLLOW THESE TIPS FOLLOWING AN ACCIDENT
- Do not give a recorded statement on the phone
- Seek medical attention immediately
- Do not settle your case too soon
- Keep communication with the insurance company regarding your injury in writing.
- It is best to get an attorney.
Although I have blogged about this in the recent past, the number of phone calls we get regarding people who have agreed to a lowball verbal settlement on the phone with an insurance companies compels me to re-address this issue. It is a sad reality that insurance companies will immediately take advantage of an injured person at the first opportunity. They have taken this practice to new levels in recent months. Here’s how the story normally goes. You get into a car accident and you decide that you want to handle it by yourself. Although that is not generally a good decision, if it is your choice, be cautious. Insurance companies are looking for exactly that injured, unrepresented person to take advantage of by presenting a low ball offer before injuries are even known.
Usually, the insurance company will call you within 24 to 48 hours of your accident. At that point your injuries have not been established and in fact may not even be known to you. The insurance company will throw out a very low offer usually under $1000 and ask if they send you a check “do you agree to settle your case and all of your claims for that amount? If you say yes, and they are recording your conversation this agreement can be construed as a legal binding contract for which you may have no additional recourse in the future. Although some contracts have been found that they must be in writing, such as contracts for real estate under the statute of frauds, there is no such general law for verbal settlement agreements.
This practice of insurance companies taking advantage of unrepresented victims is appalling. However, it is unfortunately becoming widespread and you should protect yourself against such a practice. It is best to obtain counsel immediately following the accident. However, if it is your choice not to seek legal representation, be warned not to speak to the insurance company on the phone. Advise them that all of your correspondence must be written and they can email you. And do not agree to any settlement until you believe that you have fully recovered from your injuries. Do not settle your claim following an accident too soon. I recommend generally at least three months or longer.
Most people are shocked to learn that if they agree to a settlement on the phone and then see a doctor or realize they have a more severe injury that they are then prevented from making a claim for that additional injury. Insurance companies are savvy and they know the laws, usually better than the injured victim. Don’t let the insurance company make you a victim a second time which is what they are doing in this type of circumstance. It is extremely important to obtain medical care following an accident and to monitor your physical condition for injuries associated with the accident. The insurance company is preying on resolving cases inexpensively and getting out of paying injured people for the injuries and pain and suffering that they have actually sustained. They are preying upon the lack of knowledge of the person on the phone and the vulnerability of their situation. In the past, this seemed like an infrequent practice of insurance companies and often by small companies. However, it has recently been brought to our attention that major insurance providers are engaging in this practice on a regular basis. They are knowingly and intentionally taking advantage of injured people, knowing full well that injuries from an automobile accident may not even be known at the time they are attempting to elicit a low settlement. The other driver’s insurance company is never on your side.
If you have a question about talking to the insurance company following an accident or any questions regarding a personal injury, whether from a car accident or a slip and fall or any combination of injuries, please don’t hesitate to call The Law Offices of Laura Payne Hunt, PC, and Henderson Injury Attorneys for over 13 years. Please call our office if you or if a loved one is injured. We can make sure that you receive the care you need and deserve and advise on how to preserve evidence. If you have been in any type of accident and have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury offices today. At our office, we are experienced in helping injured victims get the compensation they are entitled to. Insurance companies never have the best interest of the injured person at the top of their priorities. They want to pay as little on every claim as possible. Having worked for an insurance company as an attorney for 9 years before opening my boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I reviewed thousands of auto accident claims and policy provisions.
At the Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury Law Offices of Laura Payne Hunt, PC we are here to help you and your family in the event that accidents and tragedies occur. For any of your legal needs, do not hesitate to contact our Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury Henderson offices. The Law Offices of Laura Payne Hunt is a boutique, family owned law firm in Henderson that specializes in helping injured people and the community with legal issues involving auto accidents, wrongful deaths, slip and falls, truck accidents, injuries to children, bicycle accidents, dog bites, and all types of injury claims. Please do not hesitate to call us anytime you have a legal question or you or a loved one has sustained an injury at 702-450-(HUNT) 4868 and text 24/7 at 702-600-0032.