Motor vehicle collisions are among the leading causes of accidental injuries in our region. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) reports that around 280,000 people are injured and 3,900 people are killed in car crashes in the state each year.
You can go a long way towards reducing your risk of being involved in a serious accident by practicing careful, defensive driving habits. At the same time, the risk still remains. Even the safest and most skilled of drivers still end up in crashes.
Car accident claims are complicated. You need to know how to deal with insurance adjusters after an accident. In this blog post, our Stockton auto accident attorneys offer six actionable tips for dealing with insurance company representatives after a car crash.
Six Tips You Can Use When Dealing With Insurance Adjusters after a Car Accident
- Know What You are Up Against (The Insurance Company is Not on Your Side)
As a starting point, it is important to understand the insurance adjuster’s role in the car accident claims process. Whether you’re dealing with your own insurance carrier or another driver’s insurance company, please remember that they are not looking out for your financial interests. An insurance adjuster is a representative of the company. At the end of the day, the insurance adjuster’s job is to do what is best for their employer. In general, this means paying out as little as possible in financial compensation to car accident victims.
- Do Not Admit or Accept Blame for the Car Accident
In California, auto accident liability is based on fault. The party responsible for a crash is liable for the resulting damages. If two or more parties are found partially at-fault for the same collision then they will be held legally liable for their proportionate share of the blame. In effect, this means you are entitled to less financial compensation if you are deemed partially at fault for your own accident.
Insurance adjusters have developed many subtle strategies for getting drivers to admit or accept some level of fault for an accident. They may even try to get you to speculate about the cause of the crash. Do not admit or accept blame. It is not your duty to figure out who is at fault. Let your Stockton, CA car accident attorney sort out issues related to legal liability.
- Avoid Giving a Recorded Statement
Dealing with the aftermath of a car crash is never easy—particularly if you suffered a serious injury in the collision. You have the right to take the time you need to recover (physically, mentally, and emotionally) from your crash. Insurance adjusters are not always good about respecting that legal right.
You may get a call from an insurance representative shortly after an accident. Often, they will leave a message indicating that they just want to ask a few questions or learn more about your accident. Please know that you are not required to give a recorded statement at this time. In fact, it is not in your best interest to give a recorded statement to an insurance company without a lawyer present.
- Do Not Sign a Full Release for Your Medical Records or Medical History
In order to process a personal injury claim, an insurance company will need certain evidence, including medical records. Although an insurance company has the right to relevant medical records, they do not have the right to dig through your entire medical history.
Nonetheless, an insurance adjuster might try to get you to sign a full release for your medical records/medical history shortly after your crash. The reason that they do this is because they want to try to find something else (often a pre-existing condition) to blame for your injuries.
The good news is that you can protect yourself against this insurance company tactic. Do not sign your entire medical history away without first consulting with a Stockton car accident attorney. A lawyer will make sure that you are only provided the required medical records.
- Be Wary of Quick Settlement Offers (You Deserve Full Compensation)
After a serious car crash, you need money to pay your bills and to support the people that you care about most. In general, car accident victims want to get through the claims process as quickly and painlessly as possible so that they can move forward with their life. Sadly, insurance companies sometimes try to take advantage of the situation by offering lowball settlements.
Do not settle your car accident injury claim until you know exactly what it is worth. You deserve justice. Among other things, you may be entitled to financial compensation for: Automobile repairs or replacement, emergency room treatment, other medical bills and related costs, loss of current and future wages, pain and suffering, and long-term disability.
- Deal With Insurance Companies Through a Stockton Car Accident Lawyer
The final tip for dealing with insurance adjusters after a serious car crash is probably the most important one: Work through an experienced attorney. Insurance companies hire professionals to protect their interests. You need a skilled advocate on your team. A Stockton, CA auto accident attorney can review your crash, answer any questions that you have, and handle all correspondence with insurance company representatives. Once you hire a lawyer, the insurance company cannot contact you directly. They are legally obligated to go through your attorney. You have the right to professional representation.
Schedule Your Free Consultation With a Stockton, CA Car Accident Attorney
At Redkey Gordon Law Corp, our Stockton auto accident lawyers have nearly four decades of combined personal injury experience. We can help you deal with insurance companies after a serious car accident. If you have questions about how to handle insurance adjusters, professional guidance and support is available. Call our firm at 209-267-4589 or contact us directly online to arrange your free, no-commitment initial consultation. We represent car accident victims throughout Central California, including in Stockton, Galt, Lodi, and Manteca.