1. Don’t post anything to social media (Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, etc). Be mindful of what you post since the insurance companies WILL definitely be researching you online. It is best to stay off social media entirely while your matter is ongoing. It's amazing to me how many people post photos online after their car accident. They will post photos of the accident and say, "Big accident today, but I'm fine...LOL" - and then the insurance adjuster finds that posting and uses it against the client in the future. I had a client one time who was a drummer in a band. He hurt his shoulder in the accident but later posted videos of himself drumming on YouTube and Twitter. He explained his band was trying to get attention and I had to explain to him that the insurance company found those videos are are accusing him of lying about his injuries. Even photos of you having a nice time on a family vacation can be used against you. The insurance company will argue that you are not very hurt if you can go on vacation with your family!
2. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR CAR at a storage/tow lot. Storage/tow lots charge ridiculous storage fees. Don't assume the insurance companies are “handling” this. You need to get your vehicle out of the storage lot as quickly as you can. Basically, if you want your company to fix your car (and you have the applicable insurance coverage for that), then you need to call your company and they will go get the car out of storage and to their own storage facility or their own storage lot. If you want the responsible party's company to do so, you should call them and make a property damage claim. However, if the responsible party's company is going to drag their feet or they haven't yet determined fault, you don't have time to wait around. You should see if your company can handle the property damage. If you're worried about incurring a deductible, weigh that against incurring daily storage fees at the tow yard. In many cases, your company will seek reimbursement from the responsible company and ultimately reimburse your deductible. In some cases, your company might even waive the deductible.
3. Don’t speak with ANY adjusters about your injuries without consulting with a lawyer. In all my years as a lawyer, for both the defense and for the plaintiffs, I've never seen this work out well for a client. Insurance adjusters are trained at minimizing your claim (even if it's an adjuster from your own company). They sound friendly and concerned but they are not. That's not to say all adjusters are unfair, but I would err on the side of caution every day of the week.
4. Avoid renting a car on your own! Discuss with us first! Many folks will rent a car thinking they will get paid back by the insurance company. Even with rental coverage on your own auto policy, that doesn’t mean you can rent a car for $60 per day. You need to be aware of limitations your policy. Whenever possible, rent a car through the company. In other words, you simply provide a claim number at the car rental agency counter. Whenever possible, you want to avoid paying out of pocket then hoping for reimbursement.
5. Don’t skip health care appointments. Simply put, insurance adjusters will argue you weren’t really hurt because you canceled and/or missed your health care appointments. You might have a very good reason for missing the appointment, but as far as the insurance company is concerned, you must be fine and don't need health care if you missed the appointment. Try to reschedule any missed appointments and document with the health care provider why you missed the appointment. Call them and explain so it can end up in your records. Don't just skip the appointment without any explaination.
6. Don’t ignore bills from a hospital, ambulance, ER, or other providers. You are responsible for these bills. You can't just throw these bills in the trash and assume the responsible party is going to pay for them. These bills are for services rendered to you and they are your responsibility.
7. Take photos of car damage and physical injuries right away. The insurance company's job is to make your claim and injuries looks small. Photos of injuries and vehicle damage can help fight that. Take photos every few days of any visible injuries to demonstrate to the insurance company that your injuries didn't simply go away the day after the accident. That impresses upon them the severity of your injuries. Remember, documentation (especially photos) is the key in these types of cases.
8. Get medical care if you are injured. If you don’t get medical care, or if you wait too long, the insurance adjuster will simply maintain that you were not injured. You could be at home in excruciating pain, but without treatment or other medical care, they will simply assume you are doing just fine.
9. Your medical history is important. Inform your doctors and other health care providers of any aggravation or exacerbation of a similar previous injury. You cannot ignore or hide your medical history. If you had similar prior injuries but you deny them, that prior history may surface one day and it might look like you are lying. That will sink your entire case. Don’t ignore your medical history. It may become important – even if you had pain years ago. I had a client recently who alleged severe neck pain after an accident. She denied ever having neck pain before the accident. In reviewing her prior medical records, I found that she had CHRONIC neck pain 2 weeks before the accident. When I confronted her, she said she forgot about that. Well, needless to say, her case imploded because she sought to hide her prior pain. People don't like it when you lie (or selective memory). In fact, doing so can destroy an otherwise excellent case.
10. If you can't work, get a note putting you off work. You need a doctor's note for each period you are unable to work. Insurance companies generally ignore claims for lost earnings unless you were following doctor’s orders. If your claim is smaller, say $500 or so, that might not be a problem. However, if you are going to ask for significant lost earnings, then a doctor's note is much more important to have.
11. If you use your own health insurance for any accident care/treatment, your health insurance company will probably be entitled to reimbursement if you recover money from the responsible party. They will typically hire a third party recovery company to pursue reimbursement. Companies often used are “Meridian”, “Rawlings”, “Optum” etc. The right to recovery extends automatically to Medi-Cal and Medicare.
12. You MUST tell your doctors about ALL injuries. Be extremely specific. If something isn’t documented, it probably won’t be considered by the adjuster. The most important thing when it comes to your medical care is proper documentation! Each body part that is injured has a diagnostic code related to it. Insurance adjusters often use computer software when evaluating your claim. Each body part is assigned a value by the software. I had a client once who didn't want to bother the doctor by complaining about his shoulder. He explained his neck was his primary concern. A few months later, he needed shoulder surgery but the insurance company dismissed his contention because he never mentioned shoulder pain to the doctor. It's not time to be stoic. I encourage clients to mention ALL injuries to their health care providers, not matter how trivial the complain may seem.
13. How an accident affects your daily life activities affects the evaluation of your case. You must inform your doctors of any daily life activities affected by your accident. This includes work, home, school, etc. Remember, your records should document all the effects of the accident. Keep a journal regarding how your daily life is affected. Give your notes to your attorney. You might even consider showing the doctor your notes. If something isn’t in your medical records, it likely won't even be considered by a claims adjuster.
Obtain the police report as soon as you can
After a car accident, one of the most important things to do after getting medical care is obtaining the police report. If an officer came to the scene, you were likely given an informational card with the report number and information regarding who to contact to get the report. Sometimes, police reports are ready within a week or two. However, in busier cities (i.e., Los Angeles), it can take weeks to get a report. There is usually a nominal fee to obtain the report.
In cases where liability is disputed, or even if there is a slight question regarding fault, it is important to get the police report. I tell clients that even if you have been rear ended, it is helpful to have the police report. Even if the other party apologized profusely at the scene and several witnesses are on your side, I've learned not to come to any conclusions until I see that report. There have been numerous occasions when clients assured me there was NO WAY the police report would be against them - and then guess what? The report comes in and it's against them! There are several reasons obtaining the police report quickly after an accident are important.
First, the police report helps determine fault. While it is not dispositive of the issue, a police report in your favor will help you a great deal when making a claim against the responsible party. Insurance adjusters rely on police reports when determining fault. In fact, some adjusters won't come to any conclusion until they have the report in hand - even if their insured admits fault. That is not to say they always side with the police report. However, armed with a favorable police report, you are much steadier ground.
Second, if you complained of injury at the scene, a police report will probably have that information noted. That will make your claim for injury more believable given that you complained of an injury at the scene. If there is no mention of injury in the report, some insurance adjusters will use that against you.
Third, it is more difficult for someone to change their story if it has been documented in a police report. People often change their story later on...especially if they fear repercussions from a parent, spouse, or someone else. Perhaps they have too many moving violations on their record and risk losing their license....or fear an increase in insurance premiums. Some folks go home after an accident and reconsider their story for one reason or another.
Finally, if the police report is in your favor, you have more options regarding obtaining medical treatment. You don't want to incur medical bills that you need to pay without any reassurance that you will be able to pay them. You don't want to take unnecessary financial risks, assuming the other party will pay for medical care. If the police report is in your favor, you might have some more options regarding how you obtain treatment for your injuries.
If you have been involved in a serious car accident and you need some guidance, feel free to contact our office at (661) 414-7100 to see if we can help you.
Here is the complete segment from SCV Today featuring Dave Caldwell and Tami Edwards. Santa Clarita lawyer Robert Mansour discusses some insurance company strategies and tactics commonly used against people claiming injury. It's not that the insurance companies are "evil" but their interests usually don't align with yours.
Some of the issues discussed during this segment include:
1) Why insurance companies don't really want you to get a police report.
2) When should you file a police report?
3) Why filing a report days later doesn't really help you.
4) How insurance companies use the absence of a police report against you.
5) Why insurance companies don't want you to involve emergency personnel like an ambulance.
6) Insurance companies want you to delay or forego medical care.
7) Be wary of insurance adjusters who are too friendly with you.
8) Some insurance adjusters will give you wrong information.
9) When should you call an attorney after an accident?
10) Are insurance companies evil?
Robert use to work for the insurance companies as a defense attorney, and now he represents victims of serious car accidents. If you need guidance on your personal injury claim, feel free to call (661) 414-7100.
In this brief video, Attorney Robert Mansour explains how some insurance adjusters give accident victims patently false information. Now, whether or not this false information is given purposefully or by innocent error is not terribly relevant. What is important to learn is you should run the advice by a seasoned professional who can tell you whether the information you received is misleading, not entirely true, or an outright lie. Again, having worked for an insurance company I can confidently say that most adjusters are just trying to do an honest job. They aren't out to trick anyone. However, that doesn't prevent some people from giving false or incomplete information to victims of car accidents. Just be careful and make sure you consult with a lawyer to figure out whether the information you've been given is accurate or perhaps not quite so.
Here is the brief transcript for the above video:
Dave: And then you have here, on one of the things, they will patently give you false information.
Robert: Yes. And unfortunately, there are always bad eggs in every industry. So one of the false things that they'll tell you is, they'll say, "Well if you had a back injury before, you can't make a claim for a back injury from this case." Or, "It seems that you had shoulder surgery in the past. If your shoulder is hurting you, you're not allowed to make another claim for that." Or they will tell you something like, "Don't hire a lawyer because you're not going to recover enough money if you hire a lawyer." And the biggest one is, "We'll pay for your medical bills."
They will always tell my clients, "Oh, we'll pay for everything. Don't worry. You just send us the bills." And I always tell my clients, "They're not going to pay your bills. They're not." Because insurance adjustors "adjust." That's their job. They have to "adjust." So what do they do? They take your bills and they offer a fraction of them. They tell you they're going to pay the bills, but they don't. They just pay a fraction of those bills because they adjust them and they say, "Oh, this was too expensive. This was unnecessary." And now you're stuck with all these bills that you can't pay.
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT: Hi, this is Robert Mansour. I'm a lawyer in the Los Angeles area. One of my areas of practice is personal injury. I wanted to spend a few minutes with you on this brief video to talk to you about things you need to keep in mind when treating with doctors and physical therapists after your personal injury case.
What you want to make sure you understand is that the insurance companies are going to be evaluating your case partly on what's called the diagnostic codes, which means that what the doctor writes down as your diagnosis is going to be considered by the insurance adjuster.
That's why when you go to the doctor you have to tell the doctor everything that's bothering you and with great specificity. So you can't just go in there and say, “Oh, my neck hurts.” Well, what is it exactly? “Oh, I have radiating pain into my shoulder and between my shoulder blades or my middle back, my upper back and my lower back hurt me” rather than oh, my back hurts me. What is it exactly that you're feeling? What are your symptoms? The doctor has to write all this stuff down. It's transferred into a diagnostic code that is written in your medical records.
The reason this is important is because if something is not in your medical records it's like it never happened. So, if there's a diagnostic code that is missing or some complaints that you have that are not documented in those medical records, then it's like it never happened. The insurance company will not consider it. You see, the insurance companies are using software more than ever to analyze their cases. So a lot of major insurance companies now are using software products in order to evaluate these cases.
What they do is they'll type in your age, where you live. They'll type in all the diagnostic codes. They'll type in all the treatment codes, any treatment that you received from any place. Also, they look in the medical records to see what kind of complaints you had. This is why it's very important to indicate in your intake forms when you go to the doctor. When you talk to the doctor, every time you see the doctor, you've got to mention what you're going through, what you're feeling.
I had a client. She called me and she said, “I'm having a really hard time at work. I'm having concentration issues and also my back is killing me when I drive for more than half an hour.” I told her, “You need to tell the doctors about this. It needs to be written in your records.” The reason once again, if it's not in your records it's like it never happened.
So, once again, please keep in mind that you're got to tell the doctor everything that's going on. Those diagnostic codes are very important. The way the accident has affected your daily life you want to make sure you tell the doctors and the physical therapists about that. You know, every time you go to the doctor they ask you. They say, “How you feeling?” You go to the physical therapist, “What's going on? How are you feeling? What's been going on since the last time we saw you?”
That's where you tell them with great specificity what's going on so they can document it. Of course, if it's not documented then it's not going to end up in the software and the software will not analyze your case and the insurance adjuster will just treat it like it never occurred.
I hope you found this video helpful. My name is Robert Mansour, and thank you very much for visiting today. If you want to learn more about my practice, you can visit www.valencialawyer.com, or you can call my office at 661-414-7100. Thank you very much for watching this video.
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT: Hi, my name is Robert Mansour, and I'm broadcasting to you this brief video today from my home office in Los Angeles, California. One of my areas of practice is personal injury, and I wanted to spend today's brief video talking to you about aunt Sally. Aunt Sally got $40,000 on her case many years ago, and this is the problem that I sometimes have. Clients walk in and they compare their case to their aunt Sally or to their cousin Bill or to their friend Jose or whatever the case may be. They say, well, I don't understand. Why is my case worth this, or why are you concerned about this when my aunt Sally or my uncle Bill got $40,000, $60,000, $25,000, whatever the case maybe.
One of the biggest dangers that you can get involved in when either doing a case like this, a personal injury case, is comparing your settlement or your result to other people in your friends and family circle. The reason is that they might not live in the same region as you do. Their accident may have been more severe than yours. Their accident occurred in a different time. Frankly, as I record this video insurance companies don't like to part with their money.
They used to part with their money a few years ago a little bit more readily. Now, not so much. In these economic times everybody is watching their bottom line, including the insurance companies. So while it might have been worth x ten years ago, not so much today. Frankly, in my region of the country juries are very stingy for the most part.
Another variable is the insurance adjuster that you're dealing with. Sometimes, you deal with an insurance adjuster who's very reasonable, willing to talk about the big picture. Other times you get an insurance adjuster who's not so reasonable and very difficult. Some of them maybe had a bad childhood. I don't know. The point is that you have to deal with the variables that are involved in your case, and don't get hung up on whether so and so got this much or so and so got that much for a similar case. That's going to lead you to a road to nowhere.
You need to evaluate your case under your circumstances in the time and region that your case is being handled. Then try to fashion the best result that you can, given the scenario that you have. You can't always control it and there are many variables that you cannot control, but at the very least one thing you can control is your tendency or the propensity, rather in many cases, to compare your result with the results of others.
My name is Robert Mansour, and I thank you very much for watching this brief video. If you need help with your personal injury case and would like to discuss your options, feel free to call my office at (661) 414-7100.
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT: Hi, this is Robert Mansour, and I'm a lawyer in the Los Angeles area. One of my areas of practice is Personal Injury Law, and I'm broadcasting today from my office in Santa Clarita, California which is in northern Los Angeles County. I want to spend a couple of minutes with you talking about this letter that I got from Mercury Insurance. The reason I like this letter and I think it's a terrific letter and I want to share it with you is because it is very demonstrative of how insurance companies deny claims.
This is an accident case. It was not a big accident. My client knew that going in. Here's the letter. I think this letter just sums it all up really well. I'll show you exactly what I'm talking about. So here's the letter that I'm going to read to you. This is from Mercury Insurance.
It says, dear Mr. Mansour, we have evaluated the specials. Now, the term specials means the damages, the economic bills, et cetera. It says, this loss involves a minor impact to the driver side rear of your client's vehicle. They're using the fact that it was a minor impact to try to minimize the case. So the severity of the impact is very important. That's something that you should keep in mind. It says here, there was no police report filed. So here they're using the absence of the police report as an indication that this was not a major accident which, of course, is silly, but here's how insurance companies work.
If the police are not called to the scene, then obviously it was a minor accident, but if they are called to the scene they generally presume well, maybe there was an injury. So again, very interesting. No police report filed, it says. Your client did not receive emergency treatment on the date of the loss or subsequently. So the fact that my client never went to the emergency room or wasn't taken away by ambulance or anything like that, the lack of emergency treatment is being used against my client.
Now, maybe my client is stoic. Maybe my client wasn't hurt all that badly, but what they are doing is they are using the absence of emergency treatment against her. Also it says here, your client sustained soft tissue injury. That means pulls, muscle strain, sprain, that kind of thing. She was treated by a chiropractor which is interesting. That is the reason that they are using to minimize this claim, the fact that she was treated by a chiropractor.
Now, in some minds of some insurance adjusters, the chiropractic treatment is not as valued as an orthopedist treatment which is very interesting because many chiropractors provide terrific relief for their clients, here it is being used against my client. The fact that she went to a chiropractor. It says here, the treatment charges are excessive in relation to the injuries and the impact sustained.
Basically, they are using the size of the impact to dictate how much treatment she should have gotten. So if it was a low impact she should not have gotten this kind of treatment. Again, they don't take any individuality into consideration. They just look at the amount of the impact and determine, gee, does that make sense? Did they go treat for too long or not too long?
You'll notice in this letter it doesn't say anything about my client's medical condition, what the actual doctor had to say, what my client's reported injuries were, whether she is a frail person, whether she has any pre-existing problems, nothing like that. This denial, well actually it's not a denial. They offered her $2,000, but we suspected that in the very beginning.
Here's the thing. This letter is full of all the classic arguments. No police report, no emergency room treatment, minor impact, chiropractor. All of this being used against my client. I just wanted to share this letter with you as a demonstration of how some insurance companies, especially Mercury, just my opinion, use to deny and minimize these kinds of personal injury claims.
Thanks again. My name is Robert Mansour. You can learn more about me by visiting my website valencialawyer.com or calling my office at 661-414-7100. Thanks a lot for watching.
Hiring an attorney won't magically help your case. You must work together. We always tell our clients that we need their help while we are representing them.
Here is exactly what we tell all our personal injury clients:
By hiring a lawyer, your case won’t automatically be successful! We can’t guarantee anything, but without your help we will be at a deficit. To some extent, we have to be strategic about our approach. Unfortunately, insurance companies have created an atmosphere that demands such an approach.
Here are some things to keep in mind. Please review this checklist on occasion as things may
change as your case progresses.
1. Keep our office advised of your current address and phone number.
2. Please get back to us promptly by email or phone if we try to reach you. Sometimes we need time-sensitive information.
3. Inform this office and your doctor(s) of any prior motor vehicle accidents or medical treatments. If you have an aggravation or exacerbation of a previous injury, they should know about it.
4. Contact our office when you have any questions regarding your claim. Do not speak with a representative of the opposing insurance company. You may of course talk to your own insurance company regarding property damage issues but keep it confined to property damage.
5. Keep all medical/doctor appointments with your doctors, as well as any medical specialists to whom you are referred. Gaps in treatment will be used against you. If you miss an appointment, try to reschedule it.
6. If you are unable to work, do not leave your doctor’s office without written verification of your working status from your doctor – in other words, get a “note” from your doctor! Lost wages from work are dependent upon your doctor’s written verification of your work status. It is your responsibility to get this information from your physician. We cannot do so. Without such notes from the doctor keeping you off work, your claim for wage loss, if any, will be severely hampered.
7. If you are going to allege lost wages, we will also need verification from your employer of the dates missed and your rate of pay. If you are missing work due to the accident, your employer (the person offering verification) should know WHY you are missing work. They need to know it is accident-related. Provide us with the name/address/phone of the person who can assist us with verification of your lost earnings. If your claim is significant, providing tax returns from the past 2 or 3 years is helpful to show the decline after the accident. They won’t pay for lost wages unless they have verification from your employer AND your doctor. They don't pay lost earnings because you are a nice person. We may ask you for help if your company refuses to cooperate with our office.
8. If you see additional doctors after our initial interview you must inform us of their name, address, and telephone number. We don’t automatically find out about these things.
9. You may have sought treatment with facilities that have no relationship with my office (especially before hiring my office). We can obtain your records from these facilities, but in most cases, a direct request from you (their patient) is more effective. By law, they should comply. Please try to obtain the medical records AND billing from these facilities. Some may insist the attorney’s office obtain the records and bills.
10. Keep track of your mileage and prescriptions and submit them to us. It helps to keep a journal of doctor’s appointments and mileage (parking charges) incurred. This can be a simple sheet of paper and/or receipts from parking lots. If your mileage is very minor, this effort may not be worth it.
11. If you receive any documents by mail regarding your case (from ANYONE), please forward them to our office. This includes health care insurance, letters from insurance companies, collections agencies, etc. Keep our office completely in the loop. We are not necessarily copied on correspondence you receive from others.
12. Your “diagnosed injuries” may affect the evaluation of your case. Therefore, you MUST tell
your doctors (written and orally) about ALL your injuries. Doctors cannot read your mind. This is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. Break your injuries down to smaller components. For example, saying “my shoulder pain radiates into my neck” will simply be considered only a “shoulder” complaint by the insurance company. Your neck pain may not be considered. If you just say “my back hurt” that will count as “one” injury when in fact, you might have “upper back pain” and “mid back pain.” That’s two injuries – not one! Keep your doctors aware of your progress or lack of progress during each visit.
The rule you should keep in mind is this: Most insurance companies are using software to analyze your case. If something is NOT mentioned in the medical records, it simply won’t be “inputted” and basically doesn’t exist as far as the insurance companies are concerned. The insurance company wants to minimize your complaints whenever they can. Also, mention ALL YOUR INJURIES to every doctor you see…even if they are not treating you for that particular injury. For example, your chiropractor and orthopedist should both be aware of ALL your complaints. Inconsistencies in their records/reports may be used against you.
13. How an accident affects your life may also affect the evaluation of your injury case. You must also report any daily activities (work, school, household, etc.) that are affected by your accident. The doctors MUST document these issues or they simply won’t be considered by most insurance companies. Just like in the previous paragraph, the insurance adjuster will not input your information into their software if the information is missing or unverified by the doctor’s chart notes and/or report.
We know this is a lot to keep in mind. However, we truly believe that our clients are better off if they are “informed” participants in their case. After years practicing personal injury for the defense and plaintiff, I share these guidelines with you so we can truly work as a team. Of course, your health is the most important thing, but we also want to maximize your chances of having a successful personal injury claim.
Call (661) 414-7100 if you want advice regarding your own personal injury case.
The presumptive insurance adjuster who has evaluated the case before you've even presented it!
I admit this is a bit of a rant. I recently took on a case where the impact was relatively minor at first glance. It's not my favorite kind of case to handle because the damage is not very visible and in most cases, it's hard to convince an insurance adjuster of injury in low-impact cases. However, in some cases I might take such a case if the client is compelling, believable, and truly injured.
Although there are plenty of scientific studies supporting the fact that folks can get injured in lower speed accidents, some insurance adjusters still employ the knee-jerk reaction that little property damage necessarily means little to no injury. There is an adjuster I'm dealing with right now who keeps sending me letters on this particular case. From "Day One," his letters basically read as follows, "We consider this a low impact case and expect your client's injuries to be minor. Please send us your client's medical records when she's finished treating." Then another letter came last week that stated, "This is a minor accident. Both cars did not have much damage. Your client should be done with her treatment by now...."
As you can see, this adjuster has already made up his mind and by "implying" it in his letters, he basically wants me to adopt his framework for the case. While I agree that low impact car accidents present some challenges when convincing others of injury, I have been a bit surprised about how presumptive this adjuster has been. He has already concluded my client should have no injury without talking to her, without seeing her records, without knowing anything about her. He took one part of the puzzle (the low property damage), and he extrapolated a complete "analysis" that precludes the notion someone could be injured.
Truth is I'm not terribly surprised because insurance adjusters are bombarded with bogus and inflated claims. As a former defense lawyer, I understand it's hard to persuade adjusters with lower speed impact cases. However, what some insurance adjusters fail to realize is that every so often, a claim is legitimate. Some folks injure more easily than others. Some may have a pre-existing problem. Sometimes, age is a factor.
What troubles me the most is how myopic and conclusory some adjusters can be. Sometimes I just want to ask them, "Well, if low property damage ALWAYS means little or no injury, then why are you involved at all? Why don't you just resign and stay home? Why don't they just use robots to do your job?" Of course, there are also true insurance professionals out there who take into account all the facts before they jump to conclusions. That's the kind of adjuster I usually hope to get on my cases, but I don't always get so lucky.
I truly feel I can make these assertions after working for a major insurance company as a defense lawyer for over 10 years. I've seen both kinds of adjusters, and whether I'm working for plaintiff or defense, I appreciate adjusters who soak in ALL the information before making a decision. Thank you for allowing me to rant today. However, these are not only MY realities but also my client's realities. My job is to educate them that there are adjusters who won't see matters any other way. They will always analyze a case from within their paradigm.
If you need help with a personal injury case, please call (661) 414-7100 for a consultation. If an adjuster is giving you a hard time and refuses to see things any other way, take comfort in knowing you are not alone.
My parents got into a serious rear-end car accident about a week ago. They were making a left turn into a shopping complex when they got hit from behind by another vehicle. It was a moderate to severe impact that shook them up quite a bit. However, they did not feel much pain the first day.
My parents came home later in the day and found a message from the insurance adjuster for the responsible party. "Hello this is Susan from Geico Insurance. Please call me." My Dad called her right back. She started asking if they were feeling alright and if they were going to bring a claim. She insisted he give her a statement right on the spot. My Dad grew concerned and called me for advice.
I told my Dad the adjuster wasn't really interested in "how they were doing." Adjusters know that people often don't feel pain immediately after an accident - even if the accident was more serious. In some cases, the pain doesn't manifest itself until a day or two later! It's kind of like pulling a muscle or lifting more than you should - you often don't feel the effects until later.
The reason insurance adjusters call so quickly after an accident is because they are seeking a denial of injury - preferably "on the record" via a recorded statement. That's why they contact you so quickly...sometimes within hours of an accident!
About two days after the accident, my Dad called me with an update. He said that he and my mom (both in their mid 70s) weren't feeling very good. My Mom was especially in pain. She had orthopedic problems before, and this accident set her back. I later learned there was a problem - my Mom had spoken with the Geico adjuster the day before. I guess my Dad didn't relay my instructions to her.
According to my Mom, the adjuster was very friendly and insisted on knowing if my parents were hurt. My Mom said, "I told her we were fine. However, that was yesterday and today we are in pain." Guess what? If my parents try to bring a claim at this juncture, the insurance adjuster will likely use my mother's statement as a sword against them.
I reiterate, "There is NOTHING to be gained from giving a statement to the insurance company so early after an accident." There is only one reason insurance adjusters want a statement from you - to use it against you in the future.
Victims of accidents often don't realize they are hurt till a day or two after an accident. Sometimes the adrenaline or other factors may affect their awareness of the injury. Either way, prematurely denying injury is not the most prudent course of action. Even if you have an injury, there is little use in discussing it with the insurance adjuster because you have no idea what the extent of the injury is, what course of treatment will be necessary, whether you will fully heal or have to deal with residual pain for the foreseeable future, or if surgery will be necessary.
If you've been involved in serious car accident and want advice, please call my office at (661) 414-7100. I serve Santa Clarita and its communities of Valencia, Saugus, Canyon Country, Castaic, Newhall, Stevenson Ranch, and beyond.
by Robert Mansour
Robert Mansour is a personal injury lawyer serving Santa Clarita, Valencia,