You might be able to brush yourself off and walk away when involved in a minor incident, but victims can suffer severe injuries and even fatalities in a serious personal injury accident. Data compiled by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that accidents are the fourth leading cause of death in the US, taking the lives of around 201,000 victims annually. Almost 98 million people visit the ER for treatment, while another 24.8 seek care from their personal physician. The CDC reports that unintentional slips and falls, car crashes, and other traffic accidents rank high for injuries and fatalities.
There are two things these accidents have in common when it comes to your remedies under California personal injury laws: They occur because of negligence, and they are typically covered by a liability insurance policy. You will be dealing with an insurer to seek compensation, and you could put your rights at risk during conversations with an adjuster. Trust a Huntington Beach personal injury attorney to protect your interests, though some tips will guide you during discussions.
Confirm the Basics
You might get a call from the insurer in the days after the accident, and this is because the at-fault party reported the incident. The insurance company is reaching out as part of its investigation. During this conversation, you can feel free to cover certain topics.
The insurer will ask about your contact information, so you can confirm it and provide additional details as necessary.
Let the adjuster know that you have an attorney and offer relevant contact information. If you have not retained counsel, mention that you are researching candidates and will forward details.
Topics to Avoid
Insurance companies carefully investigate accidents for one reason: They are looking for evidence that will justify a denial of your claim or a lowball counteroffer to settle. As such, you should decline to answer questions or provide statements regarding:
- Who was at fault in causing the accident;
- How do you believe the incident occurred;
- Possible negligent acts by you; and,
- The severity, nature, and treatment of your injuries.
Never Agree to These Requests
At the beginning of the conversation, the insurance adjuster may ask if you consent to have the discussion recorded. Always refuse this request, even knowing the topics to avoid. In addition, the agent may ask you to sign a release, usually in exchange for payment of your claim. Never sign any document presented by an insurance company, as you could be giving up important rights. In most cases where the insurer requests your signature, you are agreeing to not sue for damages. You will be forced to accept whatever the company offered to settle, which may be far lower than your losses.
Discuss Your Options with a Huntington Beach Personal Injury Lawyer
Following these tips supports your rights, but you can count on El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers to deal with the insurance company. For more information, please go online to schedule a free consultation with a California accident attorney.