When you're involved in an auto accident, it's only a matter of time before you're contacted by the other person's insurance company. It's important to understand the insurance adjuster's job is to minimize the amount of money the company pays out to you for your damages and losses. As such, the person may employ a few tricks to aid him or her in that goal. Here are two you need to look out for.
Wide Reaching Medical Authorization
If you were injured in the accident and are seeking compensation for medical bills, the insurance adjuster will ask for records detailing your diagnosis and treatment. This is a fair request, since the company wants to verify you actually were hurt and incurred medical bills in the amount you're claiming. However, some insurance adjusters will try to take things a step further and push you to sign a general medical authorization.
This type of authorization lets the adjuster obtain any of your health records, including those that don't have anything to do with the accident. The purpose of gaining such unrestricted access is to allow the adjuster dig up anything in your health history that can be used to reduce your payout or discredit your case altogether. For instance, if you were treated for back pain previously, the company may claim your back injury was a preexisting condition.
There's no reason for the insurance company to have this type of access to your medical records. Politely decline to sign this type of authorization and offer to send the individual copies of the healthcare paperwork he or she needs.
Recording the Phone Call
Another thing the insurance adjuster will try to do is get you to provide a recorded statement about the accident. While this may seem like an innocuous request, you'll want to avoid doing this unless or until you've spoken to an attorney. The insurance company will use your statements against you in any way it possibly can, so you want to avoid giving the adjuster ammunition he or she can use to shoot down your case, including any admission of fault or detail that might excuse them from paying your claim.
You have the right to refuse to give a statement. However, the adjuster may try to get it anyway by secretly recording calls he or she makes to you. Since federal and state law typically requires one or both parties to consent to the recording, there may be an automated message that prefaces the call that states it may be recorded for "training purposes" (or the adjuster may say that him or herself).
More likely than not, that call is being recorded. Therefore, you need to be careful to avoid talking about the accident. If the adjuster asks probing questions, just state you need to confer with your attorney first before discussing the case.
For more information about these and other tactics insurance adjusters may use to cheat you out of your settlement, contact an auto accident lawyer.
After you are involved in a serious car accident, you might feel confused about what to do next. In order to feel like yourself again, you might be tempted to try to go about your daily activities, only to come across loads of challenges. In addition to focusing on your own recovery, you might also be left wondering what to do about medical bills, pushy insurance adjusters, and annoying family members. However, the right lawyer can help you to find your way. My name is Dan, and I know firsthand how difficult it can be to recover from a bad injury. Read my website to learn how proper legal representation can simplify your journey.