Accidents happen! Sometimes you see them as and can’t avoid them. Other times, you’re completely blindsided and have to put together fragmented memories to make sense of them. In respect to car accidents, you’re often thrust into a very stressful situation where you are asked to make very important financial and legal decisions without experience or knowledge that would come with that experience.
For example, if you’re not careful, and prepared to deal with insurance companies, you can end up making decisions that cost you a lot of money. If you’ve just been in a car accident, or are going round-and-round with insurance, or you just found our law blog out of curiosity, you can benefit from knowing how Insurance companies often approach dealing with car accidents.
Hint: the goal isn’t to part with any more cash than they can convince you they have to.
Insurance Trick #1: Creating a Sense of Urgency in Your Car Accident Insurance Claim
It can take you a couple days to get yourself in a good place after an accident and insurance adjustors know this. You want to take action quickly, of course, but you don’t have to do it immediately. Hopefully, you filed a police report and followed the rest of our steps to take after a car accident, but even if you didn’t, you want to make sure that you don’t paint yourself into a corner with an aggressive claims adjustor.
If you’re not prepared for a claims adjustor, you can end up making statement statements that ultimately hurt your ability to be made whole in the long run. For instance, you might be contacted within 24 hours of an accident to make a statement on your injuries, but many injuries can take time to show up, including:
Sprains, Strains, Tendonitis, Bruises, Whiplash, Bursitis, and other Soft Tissue Injuries
Take this to heart. Insurance companies want to preemptively disqualify potential injuries related to a car accident. They reach out to you before the injuries could even manifest and seek to get you to make statements like: “I have no other injuries related to my car accident.” While the pressure is on they can get you to make other statements that are ultimately damaging too!
Insurance Trick #2: Getting You to Make Statements Admitting Fault For a Car Accident
You have to be very careful when recalling the events of a car accident. It’s well known in the behavioral health community that trauma (traumatic situations) can result in distorted and even potentially false memories. If someone is asking you for very specific details, you have to be able to say, “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember.” Your mind may even try to fill in the blanks with what it feels should be there, be aware of this. Only state what you know to be true, and state it because you know you can prove it.
If you’re unsure about this trick, or feel pressured by an insurance company adjustor at any point, there’s no reason you can’t consult an attorney prior to answering the insurance company’s questions. In fact, that’s probably a great idea. Whether you retain a car accident attorney or not, keep your wits about you and be cautious about admitting fault, in whole or even in part.
Insurance Trick #3: Using Your Own Facebook Status Against You
This particular trick applies to all communication, but in recent years has become prevalent in social media. We update the world about our days and life events in social media, so an offhanded status update regarding your car accident wouldn’t be troubling for your claims, right?
Depending on how contested your claim is, or how much $ is at stake for injuries and damages, you bet your status update is in play. Insurance company’s will hire people to look at your public posts, and photos, and correspondence – for the sole purpose of finding evidence that:
Your injuries are not as significant as you claim
Your account of the accident is inconsistent with your retelling of the story on social media (there’s still no sarcasm button on FB unfortunately so be mindful how your statements could be read!)
Your pictures don’t match your claims
Your impairments don’t impair you as much as you claim
You can mitigate some of this by setting your privacy on your social media accounts so that others can’t see your photos and posts. However, if you claim ends up contested, your posts about the accident may be requested by the insurance company. So, the best way to mitigate this issue is to be very careful about what you post regarding your accident, and to assume that whatever you do post, the insurance company may try to pick apart.
How to Beat the Insurance Company
The best way to beat any of these tricks is to talk to a car accident lawyer. A good car accident lawyer will be able to explain to you what you can and should say, as well as help you through the process of maximizing your claims. Best of all, they can provide to you some context. Lists like these are helpful, but being able to talk to a professional lawyer who practices this every day, can take a world of stress off your shoulders.