5 Things to Remember When Dealing with an Insurance Company
Despite what you hear in the multimillion dollar ad campaigns by insurance companies, they are not out to help you when you get hurt. They are the adversary. Sometimes, though, you will have to deal with them without a lawyer, so I wrote these five these things to keep in mind if you handle your injury claim without an attorney.
- They are the enemy. Insurance companies' goals are to make as much money as possible. They collect premiums from their customers and do everything they can not to pay out injury claims. The less money they pay out in claims, the more they make. They are going to do everything they can to pay nothing or as little money as possible in your injury claim. When dealing with them, remember that they are not on your side.
- You don't have to give a recorded statement. There's no law requiring that you let the insurance company take your recorded statement. Sometimes it is strategically wise that you do, but you don't have to. Most of the time they are just looking for a reason to pay you nothing.
- You don't have to accept their first settlement offer. Settlement is a negotiation. Just like buying a house, it's a back and forth. Their first offer is just that, a first offer. Most of the time they will be willing to negotiate with you and increase their settlement offer.
- Document everything. Make sure every communication with them is put in writing. If you talk to them on the phone, follow up with a signed and dated letter memorializing the conversation. Keep a copy of any letter you send.
- "Closing out your file" does not mean the end of your case. Insurance companies will try and make you think you are losing your rights if you do not deal with them on their terms and on their schedule by saying they are closing out your file. The applicable statute of limitations governs how much time you have to make a claim, not the insurance company. If they say they are closing out your file you still have a right to sue the liable party and the insurance company will have to defend the claim.
For more information about insurance claims, please don't hesitate to contact our office to speak with an experienced Kansas City personal injury attorney.