10 Insurance Negotiation Mistakes to Avoid
By Chris Dixon
When you’re in the process of negotiating an insurance claim, there are several chokepoints that can lead to a loss. Your goal is to get the biggest settlement within reason that you can. Throughout the process, there are several things you can do that affect the final outcome. In this section of the FAQ, the personal injury lawyers at the Dixon Injury Firm provide 10 tips to help you get started.
1. Don’t Give a Statement
Unless a claim escalates to the point where you need a personal injury lawyer, avoid providing recorded statements to the insurance company. Questions they ask may be meant to trip you up and have you state something on the record that can hurt your position further down the line. Contact a lawyer if the negligent party’s insurer starts asking directed or convoluted questions.
2. Honesty Counts
Don’t lie. If anything, don’t answer questions you don’t understand without an experienced injury claims lawyer present. You do have to be honest though, since this is a due process that could potentially go to court. An insurer can easily reject your claim for false information. Provide as much proof as possible that is, without question, solid evidence.
3. Be Careful With Medical Records
Medical expenses are considered when adjusters negotiate your claim. If you’re in treatment, however, your condition could change making your original claim incorrect. Don’t sign any medical releases until your medical status is certain. This includes future care, rehab, medication, and lost wages due to recovery.
4. Don’t Discuss Existing Injuries
If you’re in a car accident, for example, and broke your collarbone, you don’t need to tell the insurance adjusters that you broke your collarbone 20 years ago. They can use this information to negotiate a smaller settlement. Wait until you sign over your medical records to reveal preexisting injuries or medical conditions.
5. Don’t Exaggerate
Claims adjusters have heard it all. If you drone on and on about pain, how it has affected your lifestyle, and exaggerate in any way, they’ll know. Stick to the facts. Doctors’ reports, your medical records, and a precise journal are much more impactful that overexaggerating your injuries. By allowing your injuries to speak for themselves, the insurer will be more likely to make a settlement.
6. Be Cautious
Be cautious in two ways: 1) Try not to be in any accidents that could influence the injury your original claim concerns, and 2) Adjusters will try to ask you questions when your guard is down. Be wary each time you interact with the insurers.
7. Don’t Answer Everything
There are some questions adjusters ask that could collapse your claim. If something sounds fishy, or they are obviously trying to get an answer out of you that puts you at partial fault, don’t answer. Contact an injury claims lawyer right away for advice and legal representation.
8. Keep It Simple
When it comes to insurance claims and cases, it’s important to not confuse your actual situation. Until the medical records are released and your injury is properly investigated, avoid making statements that could negatively influence your position. Let the evidence speak for you.
9. Keep it Close to the Vest
If a claims adjuster starts asking for personal information, such as social security numbers, your income, or contact info for family members who had nothing to do with the accident, don’t answer. If they want information regarding witnesses, that is fine. If the insurer or adjuster starts prodding for extraneous information, contact a lawyer.
10. Don’t Make Assumptions
Just because you were injured and opened a claim doesn’t mean you’re going to win compensation. You need to be patient and provide enough information to provoke the insurer into settling your claim. This all impacts the amount of compensation you can get for your insurance claim. Contact the Dixon Injury Firm today for free representation and more information about our experience with winning insurance claims.
Remember: Insurance companies don’t want to pay you for your claim. They employ strategies to talk you down to a lower, quicker settlement when they know you have a valuable case. Don’t fall for it. Document everything, question any convoluted questions, and hire an injury lawyer for legal counsel.