Victims injured in accidents caused by the negligent or wrongful conduct
of another have legal rights – including the right to seek financial
compensation for the damages they suffered. By filing a personal injury
claim against the at-fault party – including a negligent driver
who caused an
auto accident, a negligent property owner who failed to address potential hazards on their
premises, or a negligent manufacturer who made a defective product – victims
will have the opportunity to recovery compensation for their medical expenses,
lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages they incurred.
While compensation is available in
personal injury claims, it is never guaranteed. This is not only because victims have
the burden of proving fault and liability, but also because insurance
companies who commonly handle these claims (on behalf of their policyholders
who caused harm) go to great lengths in trying to pay victims as little
as they possibly can. By working with experienced personal injury lawyers,
victims can gain the support needed to level the playing field and fight
back against the common tactic insurer’s use to pay less.
Below, our legal team at Montee Law Firm, P.C. has put together a list
of some things insurance companies don’t want you to know after
you’ve been hurt by one of their policyholders.
You don’t have to accept their first offer – One of the most common tactics insurance companies use when attempting
to get victims to quickly settle their cases is to make initial settlement
offers. While the prospect of quick money is appealing, victims must be
careful of these initial offers, and take them with a grain and salt.
That’s because first offers from insurance companies are typically
lowball offers that are far less than victims need. They are also often
offered before victims have a full understanding of their injuries and
full scope of their damages, including the medical treatment they’ll
require. If you accept an offer too early, you risk accepting less than
you need – especially if you find out you’ll need more treatment
or require serious surgery. You’ll be on the hook for these if you
settle a case too early, so be aware that you don’t have to accept
an offer if you don’t think it’s fair. Instead, focus on getting
all the treatment you need to recover (or recover as much as you can)
and work with an attorney who can help you determine when an offer meets
You do not have to make a recorded statement – Insurance companies and their representatives frequently contact
accident victims to speak with them about their accidents. While you can
and should provide your personal information, be careful if they ask you
to make a recorded statement. These are often used to get you to say things
that can be used against you – such as making an apology or admitting
to fault in some way. Even if you are not at fault, saying the wrong thing
can compromise your injury claim and make it difficult for you to recover
what you deserve. Additionally, some insurance companies may already know
the answers to certain questions before they ask. If you answer them incorrectly,
even if by mistake, it can be used against you. Be aware that you do not
have to provide a recorded statement, and that you can work with an attorney
to handle any communication between you and the insurance company.
Insurers can conduct surveillance – Insurance companies don’t always conduct surveillance of
victims who file claims, but they certainly have the ability to do so.
This can be something useful in cases where insurance companies are on
the line for large pay-outs, or when they want to find something to use
against victims. Be aware of your conduct at all times, and avoid discussing
your case with anyone but your lawyer.
You can work with a lawyer – Insurance companies like to capitalize on victims’ lack
of familiarity with the personal injury claim process, which means they
capitalize on victims who don’t have legal representation. If insurance
companies contact you and want to settle claims without a lawyer, there’s
good reason to believe they are trying to pay less you would otherwise
be entitled to under the law. Do yourself a favor and consult and experienced
personal injury lawyer who can not only handle correspondence with insurance
companies, but also assist you in every phase of your legal journey, from
getting the medical treatment you need to building an effective claim
for the compensation you deserve.
Personal injury claims often turn into battles between injured victims
and insurance providers. Put yourself in position to secure the outcome
you deserve by working with attorneys who know how to fight them. At Montee
Law Firm, P.C., our Kansas City personal injury attorneys are available
to help you understand your rights and what we can do to protect them.
Contact us for a FREE consultation. We’re available days, weekends, and evenings,
and offer home and hospital appointments.