Frequently Asked Questions About Accidents
When an accident victim is not represented by legal counsel, claims adjustors for the insurance companies of the driver causing the accident often try to trick accident victims so that the potential liability of the insurance company can be minimized. Here are some of the common methods that are used.
1. Making a vehicle accident victim feel that he or she must provide a statement concerning the accident. Immediately following an accident (often within a few hours), a claims adjuster for the other driver will often call the driver who was hit. When they call, they may imply that they are required to obtain an accident statement; or they may say that a statement will be helpful to “speed up the claims process.” This is not the case.
These claim adjusters have been very carefully trained to not only be polite, but also to extract statements from an injury victim against his or her best interests. In particular, they want to obtain statements whereby the injury victim may admit partial fault. Normally, these statements are tape recorded so that they can easily be used at a later date against the injury victim.
2. Being your friend to settle the case. In this scenario, a claims adjuster may seemingly imply that they are doing everything possible to try to “close the case” to pay the full medical expenses and other damages that may have been incurred by the injury victim. The adjuster may actually have checks sent for relatively minor amounts, such as the amount required to get a car fixed, while the injury victim is going through medical care in recovering from his or her injuries. The adjuster may periodically call to provide an update or to request additional hospital or medical records so that these can be “analyzed” by the insurance carrier.
The trick in this circumstance is to cause delay so that the statute of limitations expires. In Washington, personal injury claims (such as those arising out of car accidents) generally must be brought within three years following the date of the accident (although there are exceptions in which the time period may be much shorter, so an attorney should always be immediately contacted following a serious accident or injury). If a lawsuit is not initiated during this time, an injury victim will usually be prevented by law from bringing a lawsuit against those who have caused injury. A claims adjuster may be hoping that by seeming to work with an injury victim, the injury victim will not bring a lawsuit prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations. When the claim adjuster suddenly no longer returns calls, the injury victim may find that he or she no longer has legal recourse against those responsible.
3. Following you on social media. Insurance companies want to see if you are talking about your accident on social media, particularly if you are making statements that might suggest your liability. They also want to see if you are engaging in any activities that may be contrary to your claims of being injured. In some cases, they may even hire detectives to spy on you.
It’s important that injury victims seek experienced legal counsel in the case of a vehicle accident, particularly an accident that results in physical injury.
We are there not only to advance the case of our clients, but also to protect their interests and to show them how not to take any innocent actions that may later damage their case.
To find out more about how we represent those injured due to the negligent or wrongful actions of others, please contact our firm. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation so that we may learn about your case. We represent injured clients in most cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning there are no fees to us unless and until a settlement or jury award is received (in which case our fees are paid out of this settlement or award).
Please call us today to learn about how we may be able to help you.