If another driver hits and injures you in Greensboro, North Carolina (NC), that person’s insurance company will almost definitely try to trick you into accepting a lower settlement than you need to cover all the costs the auto accident imposed. This, unfortunately, holds true even if the individual hurt by another’s negligence was a member of your family or a passenger in your vehicle. It also reflects realities in nearby cities like Asheville, Burlington, High Point, Lexington and Winston-Salem, as well as across the Tar Heel State.
None of the tricks used by insurance companies are technically illegal or disallowed under the rules for civil lawsuits. However, each puts crash victims at great disadvantage during settlement negotiations and court trails.
As Greensboro car accident lawyers, we've seen all the tricks and delay tactics employed by insurance companies. We’ve also countered them.
Here are the insurance company tricks to recognize and avoid:
You’ll be pressured to make recorded statement
Expect a phone call from the insurer for the person who caused your crash and injuries. Expect it within a day or two following the auto accident. The person on the other end will ask you to make a recorded statement about the crash, your injuries, your treatment, prognosis and return-to-work date.
Do not make the requested statement.
Once the insurance company has you on tape (and in transcript), it will hold your statement up during settlement negotiations, mediation sessions and court proceedings as “the facts of the case.” That characterization is questionable, at best. Any statement you make shortly after an accident is likely to be incomplete, unflatteringly emotional, overly optimistic regarding your physical and financial recovery, and less than half the story.
You’ll be asked to sign a medical history release
During that initial phone call, you will also be asked to agree to release your medical records. Doing that requires signing a form, so even if you say yes at first, you can still act to maintain your medical privacy.
Keeping control of your own medical records early in the personal injury claims process is essential. Once an at-fault driver’s insurance company can review your health history, its representatives will make every effort to demonstrate that the wounds you suffered in the accident are actually preexisting conditions.
You’ll be pressured to settle
Whether an insurance company gets your statement or medical records, representatives will also put early and increasing pressure on you to accept a settlement payout. They will also use skewed estimates to arrive at settlement amounts that are as low as possible. Agreeing to settle may make sense, but accepting the first or, usually, second and third offer can leave you paying accident-related bills and debts out of your own pocket.
You’ll be told a Greensboro car accident lawyer will cost you more than your receive in compensation
While working with car crash victims, my Greensboro law firm charges nothing. We have contingency fee agreements with clients. That means we only make money if we obtain a favorable outcome in your case.
We only take an agreed upon percentage of the amount you get. That fee varies from case-to-case, but it averages 33.3 percent of the total settlement or court award. We often lower our contingency fee to ensure clients have enough money to recover financially after their accident.
Even if you do not hire an attorney from our Greensboro personal injury law firm, it can benefit you greatly by speaking with a lawyer before dealing directly with an insurance company. What you’ve heard so many times about insurers having more concern for their bottom lines than your well-being is true. It is so true that the companies resort to unfair tricks to lowball payments to people with legitimate injury claims. Do not get victimized twice.