Categories
Adjusters

The insurance company adjuster is calling you, and they want to “talk.” Do you answer?

The insurance company adjuster is calling you, and they want to “talk.” Do you answer?

No.

Ok, you can answer the call. But there is no need to tell the insurance company anything. The insurance company is calling you for one thing. To figure out how they are going to minimize any payments to you.

That goes for the other driver’s insurance company, as well as your own insurance company. Yes, your own insurance company knows there is often a chance they will have to pay you for your injuries as well. If you carry Uninsured Motorist Coverage, your company may be on the hook to compensate you for your medical bills and pain and suffering.

So when your own adjuster calls you, go ahead and answer. But be very careful what you say. Eventually you may be required to give a statement under the terms of your policy. But that statement can be given later, and there is no reason to tell your insurance company everything right away. It is okay to take your time and think things through.

As for the adjuster for the other driver’s insurance company, there is no rule or requirement that you need to speak with them. In fact, you should not speak to the adjuster at all. If you are in a minor accident and don’t think you need an attorney, then go ahead and try to settle your case by yourself, but there still is no need to speak to the adjuster. You can tell them, you will be corresponding strictly by letter. Just send in your demand package when you have completed your medical treatment.

It does not pay to speak to the other insurance company.

Categories
Personal Injury Lawyer

Beware the full and final settlement

Beware the Full and Final Settlement In Your San Diego Injury Case

If someone damaged your car, their insurance company may offer to settle your claim directly with you. In my experience their offer is usually much lower than what you deserve. That’s just how they operate. So oftentimes, a dispute will develop between the car owner and the insurance company.

The insurance company may try a trick where they offer you a lower amount, and then send you a check in that amount. If you disagree with the amount they want to pay you, be careful in accepting and cashing any check sent by the adjuster. Make sure you take a look at the check, and look for words such as “Full and Final Settlement” or “Payment in Full” or any other words that resemble these.

This is important because if you cask that check, and the check contains these words, you may stuck with the amount on the check, and will not be able to demand more.

This is true even if you strike or cross out those words on the check. California Commercial Code 3311 states,  if there is a dispute as to the amount owed, and that the payment is made with a restriction or condition (payment in full, full and final settlement), then you are prevented from pursuing any additional money for that claim. This is true even if you strike the condition/words contained on the check.

You should deal directly with the insurance adjuster on your accident claim

While I don’t recommend anyone deal with the insurance company on any matter unless you are fully aware of all of the risks, if you do decide to negotiate with the insurance company adjuster, make sure you review the check carefully if you dispute the amount of the settlement in any way.

If you do receive a check and it does contain these words, hold off on cashing the check. Or return the check directly to the insurance company.

Did you suffer injuries in an accident, and don’t want to deal with the insurance company’s games just to fix your car? Give our office a call and schedule your Free Consultation. There is no obligation, no charge, and you’ll get all of your questions answered.

Categories
Car Accident Lawyers

When does hiring a lawyer increase the value of a San Diego personal injury case?

When does hiring a lawyer increase the value of a San Diego personal injury case?

Studies by the Insurance Research Council (an insurance organization) consistently show, injured victims who hire attorneys to represent them in their car accident cases, recover 40% to 350% more than those who don’t. Why? Because insurance companies hire adjusters to pay you as little as they can get away with. So if you don’t hire an attorney, they will often refuse to pay you reasonable value for your injuries. Without a reasonable threat of a lawsuit, they will offer unreasonably low amounts, hoping you get frustrated and settle. Unfortunately this happens enough for them to keep with this strategy.

When hiring a San Diego personal injury attorney doesn’t help

There are times when perhaps hiring a lawyer will not help. When the accident, injuries and medical costs are relatively minor, you might not gain a financial advantage by hiring an attorney. When the amounts are smaller, there is a better chance of getting a reasonable offer. Even if the amount they offer is lower than what you truly deserve, you won’t have to pay for a lawyer.

A lawyer’s fee is usually a percentage of the total settlement. If you don’t have to pay this fee, it makes up for the slightly lower settlement offer.

But be careful here. No matter how small the accident, I wouldn’t put it past the insurance company to try and cheat you out of your money anyway. Insurance adjusters have been known to participate in contests to see who can negotiate the lowest settlement offers. One adjuster boasting they obtained a $10 settlement!

So be aware of your rights, and try to figure out what a reasonable offer for your accident would be.

When hiring a lawyer does help your car accident case

If you are involved in a serious accident, with significant damage to your car, visits to the emergency room, and extensive medical treatment lasting months or even years, then you need to speak to an attorney right away.

The higher your medical bills are, the more likely the insurance company is going to pull out every dirty trick in the book to keep from paying you fairly. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses. It is their sole purpose to take in as much money as possible, and pay out as little as possible. It’s their business model. So you have to fight for your just and fair compensation.

Too often I see victims trying to handle their case on their own and being tricked or forced to accept a lower settlement offer. It is your right to handle the case on your own. Just make sure you understand what a reasonable offer should be, and compare that number to the one offered you. If your medical bills total $20,000, $50,000 or more, then I highly recommend you contact my office to discuss your rights. If you suffered a lot of damages, it is imperative you tell your story. The stronger the story, the bigger the settlement or jury verdict.