If you’ve been in an automobile accident or other personal injury, chances are you will be dealing primarily with the at-fault party’s insurance company rather than the individual. It’s imperative that you retain skilled legal counsel when dealing with the insurer, especially since there are a number of tactics these companies use to try to destroy victims’ claims.
When you retain Hale & Monico for your Illinois personal injury matter, our firm handles communications with the insurer.
The insurance company may call and ask you to give a recorded statement about the accident or injury. That should be a major red flag. Remember, insurance companies are businesses. The more claims they can deny and the less they have to pay to victims, the higher their profits. Insurance adjusters may sound friendly over the phone, but they are not there to help you.
The problem with recorded statements is that they can come back to haunt you. An answer you give or detail you provide may sound innocent enough, but it could be the product of careful manipulation. The adjuster may word a question in a way that the answer you give makes it sound like you are somehow liable for your injuries. You may not be thinking clearly immediately after an accident, which is the perfect time for the insurance company to ask for a recorded statement. Regardless, these statements are not for your benefit. They are to help the insurer save money or even deny your claim if it can.
You have the right to decline a recorded statement and refer the insurance company to your attorney. And you should. Don’t let the adjuster control the conversation or attempt to manipulate you. Let your attorney handle communications with the insurer.
Hiring A Private Investigator
Hiring an investigator to check up on a personal injury victim is nothing new or out of the ordinary. The problem is how the insurance company uses the information it gathers.
Sometimes, the trouble is not what’s recorded – but what isn’t recorded. Let’s say you were hurt in a car crash and the doctor gives you work restrictions related to your injuries. You might follow those restrictions perfectly most of the time. But what if one day, without thinking, you go to pick up a heavy object (forgetting about your injury-related limitations). There’s a good chance the insurance company will record this deviation while ignoring the vast majority of the time when you followed your restrictions.
Ensuring that any footage recorded of you isn’t manipulated is one reason to hire a knowledgeable personal injury attorney. Your lawyer can compel the insurance company to turn over the full recording, for example, to give proper context to your actions.
Insurance companies often ask injury victims to sign medical releases. This, in and of itself, is a reasonable request because insurers need to understand the nature of your injuries. However, insurers often ask victims to sign general releases. This can expose their entire medical history.
Not only is this an invasion of privacy, but your medical information can be used against you. For example, you may have a pre-existing back injury that was aggravated by a slip and fall accident. The insurance company may try to argue that the previous injury was responsible for your current pain. That, in turn, may be used to reduce your payout or deny it altogether. Your attorney is best equipped to control what sort of information the insurance company gets its hands on.
The insurance company is looking out for its bottom line with these and other tactics. Who’s looking out for yours? Turn to Hale & Monico. We’re ready to get started on your case.