Tips for Communicating with Your Insurance Company

Edited by Admin
Tips for Communicating with Your Insurance Company
Communicating with Your Insurance Company

Following an accident, you may be recovering from injuries, anxious about the future, and exhausted. Dealing with the details of your insurance claim after a traumatic life event can be difficult and daunting, and learning how to communicate with your insurance company can be very important to your settlement. How should you communicate with an insurance adjuster? Short answer: You shouldn’t. You should let your lawyer do the talking.
Many people make the mistake of thinking that because they have been paying insurance premiums, their insurance company is “on their side.” This leads them to chat in an unguarded manner with insurance adjusters, sometimes to the detriment of their claim. Insurance adjusters are paid employees of the company, and the company works to limit the amount of money it pays out; that’s how it stays in business. Insurance adjusters, even though they may have a friendly manner, are working against your interests. Adjusters are often skilled at negotiation and they will try to get you to settle for as little money as possible, as quickly as possible. They may even tell you that you are not really entitled to compensation as a tactic to get you to accept a small settlement. Often, this works. People who have been injured may be under considerable financial pressure and the idea of receiving money quickly is attractive.
An adjuster may ask you to make a recorded statement. While recording, they might ask you questions about the accident that you don’t know the answer to and suggest that you guess. This recorded statement can then be used to hurt your case. Sometimes insurance adjusters will take advantage of the fact that you are in shock following the accident or on high doses of medication to get you to say something you might not otherwise say.
Never authorize an insurance company to collect your medical records before getting advice from a personal injury lawyer. Medical records provide evidence for your case, but sometimes past injuries and health problems may be used by the insurance company to suggest that your injury was not a result of the accident. This can create a complicated situation and ruling by a judge may be required as to whether or not the insurance company should have access to your past records. A lawyer will work to make sure that only relevant records are available to the insurance company.  
Before you talk to an insurance adjuster, consult with a personal injury lawyer.

Why Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?

While settling quickly with an insurance company may seem like a good idea, it really is not. The offer on the table may not at all reflect what your case is worth, and without a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury lawyer to advise you, you would have no way of knowing that. A lawyer who has experience with these kinds of cases will be able to gauge whether or not the offer is a good one, or whether the company is low-balling you.
Settling too quickly can create other problems. The full picture of your injuries may not yet be evident. What if you settle based on the belief that you will, for example, regain full use of your right arm, but realize several months later that the arm has been permanently impaired? Occasionally, over time, what seems at first to be a minor injury becomes a major problem. Often an injury is masked by the adrenalin rush that happens after you have been in an accident, and its true effects are felt days or weeks later. It’s better to wait to settle until some time has passed and the full extent of your injuries has been revealed. On the other hand, there are certain deadlines for filing a claim that cannot be missed. An experienced lawyer can find the balance between these two demands.

How Much Will It Cost?

In Ontario, personal injury lawyers operate differently from other kinds of lawyers. They work on what is called a contingency basis, which means that they do not charge hourly fees. Instead, these lawyers will contract with you for a percentage of any settlement money that you receive. This system has the advantage of ensuring that your lawyer believes in your case, and also of ensuring that your lawyer will pursue the case energetically.
In addition, the initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer is usually free. During that first meeting you can ask questions about your situation and learn more about your options. Be sure to bring documentation pertaining to your accident with you so that the lawyer can make a thorough assessment. The initial consultation is a good time to assess how well you can communicate with the lawyer, and to decide whether or not you want to work with them.
Recovering from an injury can be a tough time; it’s good to have an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury lawyer on your side.