Should you give a statement to your own insurance company? The short answer is still no.
Unfortunately, when seeking compensation for an injury that was not their fault, accident victims can fall into many traps that can negatively impact their claim payouts. This is due in part to the complexity of the legal system in Texas, but also due to the common practice of insurance companies deliberately devaluing claims.
Luckily, here at Abraham Watkins, we have a long history of protecting personal injury and accident victims from the tricks of insurance companies and maximizing their compensation. If you were injured in an accident that was not your fault, you could recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
Our team has over 70 years of experience dealing with all kinds of personal injury cases. Whether you need an accident lawyer following an 18-wheeler accident, or someone well-versed in products liability laws, a member of our team could help you. Find out how by calling our office today for a free consultation at no obligation.
Our lines are always open. Contact us today by calling 713-535-9319.
Even Your Own Insurance Company Is Not Always on Your Side
Unfortunately, insurance companies often trick an accident victim into believing they have their best interests in mind. This is never true, not even if your own insurance company has excellent customer service and has seemed to treat you well.
This is because any insurance company is a for-profit business. This means it is the insurance company’s goal to protect their profit margins by any means necessary. This essentially means paying out the smallest amount possible for your injury claim. They have specific methods and the assistance of insurance adjusters to do so.
Are You Legally Obligated To Give a Recorded Statement?
You are never under any legal obligation to give a recorded statement to an insurance agent, whether they are an insurance adjuster from your insurance company, or the insurance company of the other party involved.
Even if you are in an accident and have to swap insurance details with the other driver after the crash, this does not obligate you into giving a recorded statement to the other party’s insurance adjuster or insurance company.
If they call and ask any questions, try not to be rude, but do not answer any questions about the accident or give any recorded statements. Calmly refer them to the police report instead and refuse to say anything else.
Speak to Your Legal Team Before Your Insurance Company
Because an insurance company or insurance adjusters can do so much damage to your insurance claim over the claims process, it is important to have an experienced personal injury attorney by your side from the very beginning.
This means from before you speak to your insurance company, or if you were involved in an accident, the other driver’s insurance company. Your first move should be to talk to a lawyer.
They will be able to brief you on exactly how to approach the claims process without impacting the amount your claims could be worth.
How Insurance Companies Commonly Devalue Personal Injury Claims
There are several strategies that an insurance company or their insurance adjusters use to decrease the amount of money your claim could be worth.
The following sections will describe them and how to avoid these pitfalls.
Tricking You Into Disclosing Unnecessary Information
When talking to an insurance company, you want to only disclose what is absolutely necessary. Anything you say can be used against you to mean that you admit fault for the accident or that you sustained no injuries.
For example, if you are injured, do not mention your injuries until you have had a medical examination to establish the full extent of your condition. Your attorney will be able to guide you on this.
After an accident, you are likely to be shaken up, especially if you have sustained injuries. An insurance company may try to take advantage of this. That is why it is important to have your attorney brief you beforehand.
Asking You to Provide a Recorded Statement
If you are asked to give a recorded statement in your own words to an insurance company, you should always refuse. As it is in their best interest to pay out as little for your claim as possible, you would just be giving them additional material to use against you.
If you are asked to provide a recorded interview, always refuse to do it without your attorney present. Often in an accident claim, it will be the other driver’s insurance company who gets in touch to ask you to give a recorded statement. You are not obligated to answer, regardless of what the other driver and their party demand.
Asking You to Sign Paperwork Without a Lawyer Present
You should never sign anything without having an attorney review it first.
Once you sign something in the claims process after an accident, that is often final. If your injuries worsen or you suffer additional complications, they will no longer be considered. Even if an offer seems too good to be true, you should seek legal counsel before agreeing to it.
You may also be asked to give another form of statement to an insurance company that is written down or typed. Do not do this, for the same reasons you would not provide a recorded statement – whatever you write could weaken your position in the claims process.
Claiming Your Injuries are Due to a Pre-Existing Injury or Condition
During the claims process, an insurance company or insurance adjuster may dispute the severity or extent of your injuries in order to devalue your claim. Claims adjusters will inspect the injury case, including asking witnesses to give a statement, reviewing police reports, and viewing other evidence.
This evidence, or the argument of an insurance company, may be used to imply that your injuries did not stem from the accident, but a pre-existing injury or condition instead. If they dispute the extent of your injuries, they can justify offering a lower settlement.
The best way to fight this is with your past medical history. If you get hold of your medical records, these documents can show that the injuries began when the accident happened.
Medical experts can also help provide evidence against this claim from an insurance adjuster. They can be called as an expert witness to give a statement on your behalf based on their professional experience.
Lowballing You in the Settlement Negotiation Process
Even if you avoid giving a recorded statement to an insurance company in the claim process, they will attempt to pay out as little as possible. This is likely to happen through initial offers of unfair compensation, a level of money that does not adequately represent the complications your accident has caused you.
You are free to refuse these offers and negotiate. However, an insurance company will have a wealth of experience in the negotiation process, so it is essential you have a lawyer on side if you want the opportunity to get the best deal for compensation.
We Work on a Contingency Basis
Unfortunately, many people believe that the support of a good attorney through these challenging interactions with insurance companies and insurance adjusters is something they cannot afford. However, attempting a case without a lawyer is likely to be much more costly.
We believe everybody should be entitled to high-quality legal counsel. That is why we carry out all our personal injury and accident-based cases on a “no-win-no-fee” basis. That means you will not pay anything if your case is unsuccessful.
If your case is successful, the fees and litigation costs will be taken as a percentage of your final settlement after your case resolves.
We Have More than 70 Years of Experience Dealing with Insurance Companies
Here at Abraham Watkins, our legal team has more than 70 years of experience fighting for financial justice for clients just like you. Whether you were injured in a car accident, a slip and fall, or a case of products liability – you will likely have to speak to an insurance company or insurance adjuster. We will help you handle it.
If you would like to know exactly how we would help in your specific case, you can call for a free consultation at any time. We will run through the facts of your case and your chances of success – all at no obligation.
To find out more, call us at 713-535-9319 today.