When you get into a car accident, it can be a traumatic experience. It is likely that you will sustain some injuries from the impact, whether it is whiplash or a broken bone. Depending on the severity of the crash, you may experience some mental and emotional trauma and be afraid of getting back on the road once you recover. Additionally, your car may be damaged or even totaled from the collision.
Though the most important first step after an accident is to seek medical attention for your injuries, another important part of the post-accident checklist is to file a claim with your insurance company. This can be a daunting task, mostly because insurance companies are known for trying to pay as little as possible by stacking evidence against you. Therefore, if an insurance claims adjuster calls you after your accident, contact a Long Island personal injury attorney, a member of the team at Rosenberg & Gluck, LLP can go over your case with you and be there to protect your rights to compensation.
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Talk to an Attorney Before Talking to an Insurer
Regardless of whether we are talking about a large or medium-sized insurance company, insurers are in business to make money. In order to maintain a favorable rating from Moody’s or Standard & Poor’s, an insurance company must maintain a three-to-one premium-to-surplus ratio. What does this mean? Simply put, it means that for every three dollars of coverage an insurer underwrites, it should have one dollar in surplus to cover losses on policies.
When this ratio is upset, an insurer can be downgraded, negatively impacting its stock value and upsetting shareholders. In order to protect its financial interests, it is not uncommon for an insurance company to tie salaries, promotions, and even annual bonuses to reduced claim payout goals. As a result, insurance companies have a financial incentive to settle personal injury cases for the least amount of money possible, leaving customers often without sufficient coverage for their claims.
Reducing Claims Payouts — Talking to Injury Victims Before They’ve Healed
After your car accident, some injuries are easy to detect right away — broken bones, deep cuts, and other obvious wounds can be immediately taken care of by a medical professional to begin your healing. Some injuries, however, are not immediately visible. For bodily damage involving the head, neck, back, or other soft tissue areas, it can weeks, if not months, to determine the full extent of the injury.
Even if you think you only have a mild concussion or a neck that feels a bit stiff, in the weeks or months following a car accident you could suffer memory loss, chronic pain, tingling in your hands or legs, reduced mobility, or balance problems. Whiplash, in particular, is an injury that happens in a lot in vehicular collisions because the force of the crash causes the head to whip back and forth. Within 24 hours after the accident, signs and symptoms of whiplash will generally present themselves. If not given proper treatment soon enough after it happens, whiplash can end up having long-term effects and leave the victim in pain well after their accident.
Insurance companies are smart, and they are aware that your biggest injuries with which you will need the most financial assistance will not present themselves right away. However, they realize that the sooner they settle a case, the better. That’s why claims adjusters often try to talk to injury victims as soon as possible after an accident; if they can broker a settlement before the full extent of your injuries is known, they can save money.
What Happens if I Talk to an Insurance Company Employee After My Car Accident?
If you accept a settlement offer from an insurer before the full extent of your injuries is known, you may find that the compensation offered will not cover all of your medical expenses or lost wages. If you accept an initial offer from an insurer, you will be required to sign an agreement that prevents you from seeking additional damages at a later date. When an insurance claims adjuster calls, he or she may try to gain your confidence and trust by reassuring you that he or she only wants to see how you’re doing and collect certain information. In most cases, however, the claims adjuster is hoping you’ll say something that can be used to reduce your claim or shift more fault onto you later if your case goes to court. Having an experienced personal injury by your side is a great asset, and they can serve as the go-between between the claims adjuster and yourself.
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Assigning Fault in Car Accidents — Contact an Attorney to Protect Yourself
The more fault assigned to you in an accident, the more any compensation you are eligible to receive will be reduced. When an insurance claims agent calls asking questions about how fast you were driving, if you take any medication, what you remember about the accident, etc., he or she is fishing for anything that can be used to shift more fault onto you. If you hire a lawyer to represent you, however, the insurer has to talk to your attorney. Consequently, the best way to protect your rights and interests after a car accident — or any kind of accident — is to contact an experienced personal injury attorney in Long Island, NY.
The dedicated attorneys at Rosenberg & Gluck, LLP have spent years fighting insurance companies on behalf of clients injured in an accident. We are compassionate towards every client’s situation because we know the frustration and anxiety you feel when you have been hurt and need to find a way to pay for medical expenses. We will stand by you in your time of need and help you get the compensation you deserve.
If you’ve been injured in a car, construction, pedestrian, motorcycle, or slip and fall accident, contact Rosenberg & Gluck, LLP today to schedule a free consultation and learn how we can help you.