Why it makes sense to have a Phoenix Car Accident Attorney handle your insurance claim:
The reality is that there are certainly circumstances when you can, and probably should, deal directly with an insurance company. Such circumstances might include car accidents involving property damage only and/or where there are no injuries at all. But when do you truly know there are no injuries at all? After all, some injuries don’t manifest for several days, and/or simple aches that we thought would resolve on their own in few days don’t. So even in these situations, one must be careful not to rush into resolving things with the insurance company too soon.
But when do you truly know there are no injuries at all? After all, some injuries don’t manifest for several days, and/or simple aches that we thought would resolve on their own in few days don’t. So even in these situations, one must be careful not to rush into resolving things with the insurance company too soon.
However, in the majority of situations, it is not likely in your best interest to deal directly with the insurance company.
Let’s face it, the insurance adjuster works for the insurance company, not you. The insurance companies have many pieces to their business that they don’t want you to know. The adjuster’s job is to resolve your claim as quickly as possible, for as little as possible. Many adjusters are paid bonuses based on how quickly and for how little they resolve claims. Likewise, insurance agents are often paid bonuses based on claims submitted by people they underwrite (sell insurance to).
I once had a friend who worked for a major insurance carrier who told me the company discouraged agents selling optional Medical Payments. Why? Because Med pay is portable and follows you if you’re injured in someone else’s car, or even if hit by a car while walking or riding a bicycle.
It also covered anyone injured in your car. As such, it is the coverage most likely to be used, which if used, adversely affected the agent’s year-end bonus. I myself have had agents tell me I didn’t need Med Pay if I had private health insurance (not true).
I once had a friend who worked for a major insurance carrier who told me the company discouraged agents selling optional Medical Payments. Why? Because Med pay is portable and follows you if you’re injured in someone else’s car, or even if hit by a car while walking or riding a bicycle. It also covered anyone injured in your car. As such, it is the coverage most likely to be used, which if used, adversely affected the agent’s year-end bonus. I myself have had agents tell me I didn’t need Med Pay if I had private health insurance (not true).
Adjusters are quick to offer you quick resolution of an injury claim, often offering $500 or $1,000 in exchange for a quick release of all claims. This can be tempting to someone not yet in any pain the day of or day after an accident. Unfortunately, I’ve gotten calls from people who after accepting such payment and signing the release, realize that their discomfort grew in the days following and they ended up with considerable problems that required some amount of ongoing medical care that they had to pay for out of pocket because they had ?settled? so quickly.
Adjusters will ask for recorded statements right away. They may lead you during such a conversation. They may suggests things for you to agree with during such conversations. Anything you can could potentially be used against you later.
Adjusters will not authorize any medical care. This means they will not pay for any medical care in advance, nor will they pay for such care as you treat, nor will they guarantee payment of medical care upon completion of your treatment. They will tell you they will consider the reasonableness of your medical care and bills after you’ve completed any necessary treatment. If you treat through your health insurance, your primary care physician might have to approve any specialist referrals or diagnostic testing. Your insurance carrier may have to approve such referrals as well. Your plan may cap the number of visits you can have in a given year with certain types of providers, such as physical therapists, chiropractors, psychotherapists, etc. You may have to pay a co-pay, or even worse, meet a deductible, which may adversely impact your ability to treat, especially if your injuries also prevent or limit your ability to work. If you don’t have any health insurance, your options may be even more limited.
A phoenix personal injury attorney can help you find treatment, often with a provider that might be willing to wait for payment from the insurance adjuster upon completion of your care. While it is true that settling one’s claim without an attorney might well save them from paying attorney fees and costs, the reality is that good attorneys can usually negotiate a higher settlement of your claim to help offset their fees and costs.
In addition, the personal injury field has many other components that one would have to deal with on their own absent an attorney’s involvement. Such issues include whether or not there is a health plan involved and whether that plan seeks and/or is entitled to reimbursement (believe it or not, but many plans that seek reimbursement are not entitled to reimbursement). Have providers protected their right to be paid from any recovery?
Are you entitled to any Loss of Use compensation for each day you were deprived of the use and enjoyment of your damaged or totaled vehicle? If your vehicle is repairable, has the adjuster given you a fair repair estimate and/or a warranty on the repair work? If your vehicle is a total loss, is the adjuster offering you it’s fair market value? If your car was new but repairable, has the adjuster offered you anything as compensation for the vehicle’s diminished value once repaired? †An attorney can help you with all of these additional issues, which can result in more money in your pocket, usually at no extra cost to you.
Our advice is as follows:
- If in an accident, take cell phone photos before any vehicles are moved. If vehicles are moved, take photos of any skid and/or road debris. If injured on someone’s premises, take photos of the ?condition? that caused your injury before any clean-up or changes to the condition are made.
- Get contact information from any witnesses. Don’t rely on investigating police to do so, get the contact information yourself. Offer it to police, but keep a copy for yourself. If injured in a store, get the names and titles of all managers and store employee witnesses.
- Always call the police. The other driver may be nice at the scene and admit fault such that you don’t believe there is a need to involve police, but when you contact their insurance company, you’re told they’re blaming you for the accident.
- If anything hurts at the scene, be sure to tell the police. Acknowledging symptoms at the scene doesn’t mean you necessarily need to be ambulanced to an ER, but it will help validate your complaints should they worsen in the days following the accident.
- If you think you might benefit from an attorney, resist contacting the insurance company/adjuster until after you’ve consulted an attorney.
- If you believe you won’t need an attorney, call the insurance company to report the claim but do not allow them to take a ?recorded? statement from you at that time. Wait enough time before giving a recorded statement so that you are sure a quick settlement without an attorney won’t come at the expense of your future health.
The bottom line is that attorney consultations are free, so don’t hesitate to consult an attorney before deciding how to proceed.