When you are involved in an auto accident, that is not the fault of your own, your entire world can get turned upside down in the blink of an eye. One moment, you are driving down I-4 in a car you love, maybe even all paid for with low miles or maybe brand new still with that new car smell and BOOM…you are unexpectedly hit by another vehicle. You certainly did not wake up that morning and prepare yourself for what would happen. Now, you have potentially have a damaged vehicle and injuries and don’t know what to do. It is highly likely that you will receive a phone call from the at fault party’s insurance company and here is where things get sneaky. Therefore, I wanted to briefly give you my tips on what to do after an accident when it comes to the other persons insurance company.
Role of PIP Coverage
Florida is a no-fault state which means that your PIP insurance will provide you, regardless of fault, a quick way to obtain medical coverage. This PIP coverage covers your own medical bills even if you were not at fault for the accident. Keep an eye out for some of my other blog posts that go into PIP benefits in a lot more detail. Regardless of this coverage, the at fault party is still on the hook and their insurance company, in most cases, will be very sneaky in trying to release them from liability.
Communicating with Insurance Companies
In the days following the accident, it is likely that you will be very overwhelmed dealing with your injuries, coordinating doctors appointments, dealing with the damage to your car and getting alternative transportation all while recovering from the traumatic events of the accident. It is in these days that you will most assuredly receive a call from the at fault party’s insurance company. They know you are overwhelmed and confused. They may ask to take your statement or record your version of the accident. I wish I could tell you that all of this was going to be used to help you, but I can’t. Most of the time, these sneaky adjusters are trying to get you to say something that can and will be used against you in the settlement of the claim.
Discrete Tactics Used by Insurers to Rid Themselves of Any Liability
Additionally, you may receive information in the mail asking you to sign different forms pertaining to medical records and releases. I have heard horror story after horror story of clients receiving these packets in the mail and just signing all the documents either thinking it was their own insurance company or just documents to get medical treatment. The sad reality is that many times, these documents are stealthily sent to unsuspecting parties and once signed, gives the other party’s insurance company full access to all of your past and current medical records. Imagine that, you just signed a document that allows strangers to access all your private medical history, history which will most likely be used against you in the case.
These documents can even be used to bar you from getting the total amount you are owed in a case. This seems like it should be legal but, if YOU sign a document releasing the other insurance company from what they have to pay, then it is. I was just told an incredibly sad story of a gentleman here in College Park who was involved in a very bad accident on West Colonial Drive. The car was older but a total loss, nonetheless. He was injured and overwhelmed by all that was going on. The other insurance company called immediately after the accident and made him feel like they were really trying to help him. He understood them to say they wanted to give him some money for his car and without consulting anyone else on their “offer”, signed a release and got some much-needed money in his pocket. What he didn’t know is that he had signed a full and final release, releasing the insurance company and at fault party from all other claims. He soon discovered the money was not enough to cover replacing his car and he had released them from any sort of personal injury claim for his now worsening injuries.
Consult with an Attorney Today
It is sad, but you need to know that big insurance companies, especially those of the at fault party, are not out to help you with full transparency and care. They want to get you as quickly as possible before you are represented by an attorney and get a release from you. Do not believe me? Ask my wife who a couple of decades ago, worked as a claim’s adjuster here in Orlando for one of the largest insurance companies in the nation. They tried to get the injured party on the phone and released before they had time to get an attorney. Is this right? No, but unfortunately it is the reality and therefore, make sure that you always take the time to CAREFULLY look over any documentation you receive in the mail and do NOT give any sort of statement over the phone. If you are unsure, please feel free to reach out to the Dunaway Law Firm and we will be happy to help guide you through the process.