Agreeing to give the insurance company a “recorded statement.” This is a bad idea, especially if you have not consulted with a lawyer. Insurance representatives are highly skilled at manipulating people into stating things that can hurt their case. People often will not even know that their own words are destroying their case. Insurance companies do this everyday, and are very good at getting people to say things that will damage their case. Chances are that you have not been through this process before, and the insurance company knows this. There is an uneven playing field, and the insurance company will take advantage of this in every way.
How to avoid this mistake – Do not agree to give any recorded statements until after you have spoken with an attorney. An experienced and qualified attorney will know whether or not you should give a recorded statement. If it turns out that you do need to give a recorded statement, your lawyer will be with you to make sure that the insurance company cannot get away with unfairly using your statement against you.
Delaying medical treatment. Sometime insurance companies will promise to take care of you. Many people think that this means that they will help you with your medical treatment. This is absolutely NOT the case. Insurance companies do not help injured people get the medical treatment that they need. The insurance company is hoping to string you along for as long as possible, hoping that you will delay getting medical care. They do this because they know that if you eventually hire a lawyer, and file a lawsuit, there will be a “gap in treatment,” that will severely damage your case. Their lawyers will say, “ If Jane was really hurt, why would she have waited two weeks before going to the doctor?” The insurance companies and their lawyers know that these gaps in treatment will hurt your case, so they will try to create these gaps themselves from the beginning.
How to avoid this mistake – Get the medical treatment that you need as soon as you can. Do not wait for the insurance company to help you because they never will.
Agreeing to see only company doctors. Sometimes an insurance company will imply that you can only see a doctor that they choose. This is NOT true. You can always see your own doctors. But, the insurance companies hope that you will not realize this, and that you will only be seen by their doctors, which will absolutely hurt your case. Insurance companies steer you to doctors who they want you to see, and they pay for these doctors. These doctors know who is paying them, and may have certain biases against you before ever even meeting you. These company doctors are paid to say that your injuries are minimal or that you are not even injured at all.
How to avoid this mistake – See doctors of your own choosing, and whom you trust. Do not rely on insurance company doctors. Make sure that you tell your doctors what is hurting you, and when and where it hurts. Your doctors are the ones who will be relied on to describe the extent of your injuries. It is important to follow your doctors’ treatment instructions.
Not being truthful. During your case, there are many opportunities to be less than truthful. No matter who it is, it is always a bad idea to be anything less than 100% truthful, even if you think there is something that may hurt your case. Even the slightest misrepresentation can easily hurt your entire case because your credibility and trustworthiness is always crucial to your case.
How to avoid this mistake – Be truthful to your lawyer, to your doctors, to the insurance company, to the insurance companies’ lawyers, the jury and everyone else that you may speak to regarding your case.
Deciding whether to settle your case without talking to a lawyer. The insurance companies hope that you will never seek legal representation. This will make their job harder because they know that a lawyer will know far more about your rights than you do. So, insurance companies will often strike fast, and try to settle your case for a low value within days of your accident. The insurance company will act as though it is on your side, and like it wants to help you. However, nothing could be further from the truth. All that the insurance company really wants to do is pay you as little as it possibly can or, even better, nothing at all. Insurance companies will try to entice you by offering some amount of money up front that may not seem like a bad deal at first blush, even though they know that you are really entitled to much more. In fact, the true extent of your injuries, and the true value of your case, may not even be known until weeks or months after the accident. However, you are unaware that your case has been sorely undervalued because you have not had the benefit of consulting an attorney. Meanwhile, the insurance company is consulting with its legal counsel all of the time.
How to avoid this mistake – This one is easy. Consult with an attorney before you decide to settle your case. Whether you hire an attorney or not, at least speak with a lawyer to get more information.
If you have been injured in a car crash, learn about your legal rights from an experienced Louisiana car collision lawyer by calling 504-581-4892 or by filling out our free, no obligation case review form.