Have you been in a car accident and your insurance company suggested you to go through the careless driver’s insurance instead of your own?
Cases like this happen every day; the insurance company will suggest you go through their insurance because it was “the other driver’s fault.” However, it is often quicker to go through your own insurance company to get it fixed. You will have to pay the deductible up front, but your insurance company should reimburse you once the other driver’s insurance company pays them back. There are several other tricks that the insurance company uses to prevent you from getting all of the benefits you deserve. Some of these include but are not limited to:
- Entering a secret “side agreement” with the careless driver’s insurance company
- Secretly videotaping you and talking to your neighbors about you to use this information in settlement negotiations
- Trolling YouTube, Google, Facebook, Twitter, and any other internet social networking sites for your postings and videos of activity to find out more information about you and to get you to admit to certain facts
- ERISA: If your medical bills were paid by health insurance of an employer’s health plan, the health insurance company or plan might want you to reimburse it out of any personal injury recovery
Here are a few questions to ask the insurance company who wants you to “just sign a few forms and give us a statement:”
- Will you put in writing that the accident was not my fault?
- Will you tell me how much insurance the person who hit me has?
- If I give you a recorded statement, will you give me a copy of the recorded statement that you already got from the person who caused the accident?
- If I sign this medical release, will you immediately forward to me a copy of everything you get using my release?
- For more questions to ask to download a FREE copy of Five Deadly Sins That Can Wreck Your Injury Claim
After finding the right attorney for your case, your attorney will help you analyze the insurance company’s best offer and compare it to what you might net by going to trial. Sometimes, attempting to negotiate with the insurance company before filing suit is not worth it. It is generally a dangerous practice to wait until the statute of limitations has almost expired to file suit.
So After the Lawsuit is Filed, What Happens?
Once your lawyer files the suit, both sides engage in the legal process called discovery. This is when each party is allowed to investigate what the other side is going to say at trial. The defendant will be permitted access to your medical and work history, including your income records. You may have to give a deposition under oath, and you may be required to submit to a medical examination by a physician of the defendant’s choosing. The defendant is also subject to discovery. During this period, the defendant’s insurance company will do their research on you and use some of the tricks stated above. Some of the arguments the insurance company will use to justify a low payment include:
- You weren’t wearing your seat belt
- Your car had defective equipment
- You were drunk or impaired by legal or illegal drugs
- You didn’t see our guy blow the red light, so it's your fault you got hit
- You exaggerated the defendant’s speed or conduct, so you are not credible