Navigating the insurance claim process requires patience, understanding, and often, legal guidance. If you are pursuing one of these claims, these ten points can empower you to handle your claim more effectively and increase your chances of a satisfactory outcome.
#1: Insurance Adjusters Protect the Company’s Bottom Line
Although insurance adjusters may seem helpful, their primary aim is to protect their company’s financial interests. Their goal is to minimize the amount paid out in claims. Be cautious in your dealings with them, as they might use tactics that could affect your case’s outcome.
#2: You Are Not Required to Accept the First Settlement
Insurance companies typically offer a lower settlement initially, expecting some pushback. Never accept the first settlement—instead, evaluate the offer thoroughly to ensure it covers all your expenses and losses before considering it.
#3: Anything You Say Could Affect Your Claim
Any statements that you make can be used to challenge the severity of your damages or your account of the accident. Communicate clearly and factually, without providing more information than what is necessary.
#4: Your Insurer Has an Obligation to Act in Good Faith
Insurance companies are legally obligated to act in good faith and deal with you fairly. This means making a reasonable effort to investigate and pay out legitimate claims promptly. If you feel your insurer is not meeting these obligations, it may constitute bad faith and you have the right to pursue legal action.
#5: You Have the Right to Negotiate Your Settlement
Negotiation is a key part of the insurance claim process. You have the right to negotiate the settlement to ensure it adequately covers your medical expenses, lost wages, and other related damages. To better understand the full value of your claim, consider consulting with an attorney. Dependent on the situation, you may meet with a car accident attorney or a premise liability attorney for example.
#6: You Are Not Required to Provide a Recorded Statement
While insurers may request a recorded statement about the accident, you are not legally obliged to provide one. These statements can sometimes be used to weaken your claim by capturing discrepancies in your stories. It’s often wise to speak with an attorney before giving any formal statement.
#7: Never Sign a Release of Liability Waiver
A release of liability waiver usually signifies the end of your claim and prevents you from seeking additional compensation. Never sign this document—instead, consult with an attorney to discuss whether it is in your best interests.
#8: Be Very Careful with Your Social Media Accounts
Insurance companies may monitor your social media accounts for posts that contradict your injury claims. Even seemingly innocent posts can be misinterpreted and used against you. To prevent this, limit your social media activity and ensure your privacy settings are secure.
#9: You Have the Right to Take Your Case to Trial
If negotiations with the insurance company are unproductive, you have the right to take your case to trial. This can be a complex process, but it may result in a more favorable outcome. An attorney can guide you through the litigation and represent your rights in court.
#10: Hiring a Lawyer Signals That You Mean Business
Engaging a lawyer shows the insurance company that you are serious about your claim. An attorney can handle negotiations on your behalf, using their expertise to advocate for your interests and ensure your rights are protected. After your accident, always contact a Georgia personal injury lawyer to discuss your claim strategy.