When you file an insurance claim or seek compensation from the other driver’s insurance following an auto accident, you may have many questions about your claim. Although an insurance adjuster may be willing to provide answers to these questions, the adjuster will provide answers to many of these questions that may not be candid, accurate or helpful. Policyholders need to remember that the adjuster is not on your side in an insurance dispute. The primary function of the adjuster is to save the insurance company money – money that otherwise would be paid to you and other policyholders. When you are unsure of your legal rights, you should speak to a Miami insurance claims attorney, so the advice you receive is not tainted by the financial interests of the adjuster. This blog post provides answers to questions your insurance adjuster hopes you do not ask.
Will I receive more money if I hire an experienced Miami insurance attorney?
Insurance adjusters do not want you to ask this question because they recognize they have an enormous advantage when dealing with an insured who does not have legal representation. While the insurance company has attorneys, adjusters, experts and unlimited financial resources, you are limited to whatever past experience you have pursuing a prior insurance claim. This battle might seem like David vs. Goliath, but the reality is that David had much better odds. What insurance companies do not want you to know is that their own research reveals that a policyholder who has legal representation will receive on average 2.5 times the recovery of a party that is not represented before attorney fees and costs.
My law firm often receives inquiries from policyholders with a settlement offer in hand who have been told this is the insurance company’s final offer. We have taken such cases and obtained a higher recovery from the insurer even after the attorney fees and costs were paid. Policyholders should keep in mind that insurance companies work on actuarial data. This means they analyze percentages and likely outcomes when evaluating how to settle a claim. Insurers recognize that the amount of recovery parties receive on their own is substantially less, so they have an incentive to discourage you from retaining an attorney. The insurance company also recognizes that the odds of being forced to defend a lawsuit skyrocket when they are facing a represented party as opposed to an unrepresented party. In fact, the threat of a lawsuit means nothing to an insurance company if you are self-represented because such an endeavor is akin to performing your own brain surgery.
Why do I need to sign a release for my medical records?
The purpose of this release of your medical records is to compromise the value of your claim. The authorization might be so broad that the insurance company can obtain all of your treatment records from any health care professional that you have visited. The insurer may look for evidence of prior injuries, so they can blame your current symptoms and disabilities on the prior injury. Many times there will be sensitive information in your file such as records regarding psychiatric services or other personal information that you have no obligation to provide. When you are represented by an experienced insurance claims attorney, he can protect you from this type of fishing expedition. If there is information in your medical file that is not relevant or otherwise not subject to discovery, your insurance attorney can protect your rights.
Why do you need a recorded statement if there is a police report?
Although the relevant facts might all be included in the police report, the recorded statement is not about acquiring objective facts. The purpose of the recorded statement is to obtain inconsistent statements that can be used to develop defenses or attack your credibility. If you think that the insurance company is just trying to resolve your claim, you should consider flipping the question. You might consider asking the adjuster if you can get a recorded statement from the insurance company’s policyholder, but I can guarantee that the answer will be no.
While these questions pertain primarily to auto accident insurance claims, there are other questions that an insurance adjuster may not want to answer when you submit a homeowner’s insurance claim, long-term disability claim or other type of insurance claim. If you think you might need an insurance attorney for your claim or you have questions about your rights, my law firm represents policyholders in claims disputes in Miami and throughout Florida. The Law Firm of J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A. offers free case evaluations. No Recovery, No Lawyer Fees. Call 305-461-1095 or Toll Free 1-866-71-CLAIM.