You’ve been in a crash. Your neck hurts, you finally had to go back to work, and this insurance adjuster keeps calling you. The question is, should I talk to the insurance company?
This is a common question we get at Martz & Lucas from people trying to handle their own claims. “I don’t want to hire an attorney.” and “I just want this to be over.” are things we hear all the time.
We typically tell people to try and settle their case on their own. We say this with confidence because more often than not, the insurance company will overwhelm the person to the point that he or she will end up calling Martz & Lucas for assistance.
This blog isn’t meant to disparage insurance adjusters. Adjusters are just people trying to make a living like the rest of us. However, a lot has led us to believe that there is a system in place meant to deter claims. The insurance companies will make the process difficult. If just 1 out of 5 people drop their claim before it even starts, these dropped claims add up. Insurance companies are in the business of making money, not paying out claims.
Below is a link to a book, “From Good Hands to Boxing Gloves,” detailing a plan at Allstate to deny insurance claims.
Our only hesitation in telling someone to handle their own claim is that without the experience of a lawyer, you may mess up your case by saying or doing things that will be used against you later. Keep this in mind, everything the other driver’s insurance adjuster is doing is to build a case against you, not help you.
The Recorded Statement
The first thing the other side is going to do is ask for a recorded statement. We almost never allow a client to give a recorded statement because nothing good will come of it. The insurance company is trying to figure out the basic facts of a case. But, they are also trying to lock in your story. They will ask questions about your injuries and if your injuries have gotten better or gone away. They are recording these answers to see if your story is consistent. If things change down the road, they have something they can use against you.
The lawyers at Martz & Lucas have read dozens of these recorded statements that were given before we were hired over the years.
These recorded statements are often taken within days of the crash. Clients are often overwhelmed and distracted at this time. Some were fuzzy on pain meds or distracted taking care of family while on the phone with the insurance adjuster. Things in these statements can come back and bite you. They will ask questions like how much attention you were paying to the road, details like which foot you were using or did you see what you slipped on. The insurance adjuster knows what they are looking for, clients don’t.
Bottom line, at Martz & Lucas, we would not advise giving a recorded statement. But, if you want to try and settle your case on your own the insurance company will want one.
Statute Of Limitations
The other issue with trying to resolve a case on your own is the statute of limitations. See our blog on the statute of limitations for a more detailed explanation. Keep in mind that you generally have 2 years to file a tort lawsuit, and this deadline gets a lot shorter, 180 days, if a governmental entity is involved. There are also issues with non-parties. Bottom line, if you are going to hire an attorney, don’t wait.
Get Help With Handling The Aftermath Of A Car Crash
Back to where we started, should I talk to the insurance adjuster? The lawyers at Martz & Lucas have come to learn that once a client deals with the insurance company, they are much more likely to hire our firm. You can give it a try settling your case. Just keep in mind the pitfalls discussed in this blog.
When you decide you need help, you can reach out or give us a call.