Most times that individuals are injured in an accident, the at-fault party will have insurance that covers the accident. When this occurs, insurance companies hire attorneys to represent their insured. The attorneys at Ely & Reed have worked for the insurance companies (including the largest automobile insurance carrier in the United States) and represented defendants. During the time working for insurance companies, Mike and Nick learned various defense and insurance company tactics and strategies.
Insurance adjusters call the shots
Insurance adjusters are the front line defenders for their company. They generally control case strategy (with the assistance of counsel) and generally control settlement amounts (with supervisor oversight). While working with insurance adjusters on accident injury cases, Mike and Nick learned how adjusters generally evaluate cases.
Seek medical attention - even for the small pains
The first very important rule to obey is to seek medical treatment immediately following an accident. Further, it is imperative to treat for each and every ache and pain. If an injured person does not seek immediate medical attention, adjusters believe that they are really not that hurt. Further, if an injured person does not treat immediately for a specific injury, the adjuster will not believe that the injury is as a result of the accident. Therefore, it is imperative that if you are injured in an accident that you do not wait to see if the aches and pains go away on their own before you treat. More importantly, injuries need immediate medical attention in order for you to make a full and complete physical recovery.
If you're not better, take your time
It is also important to continue treating for injuries as long as they are causing pain or functional issues. If injured parties stop treating or long gaps in between treatment, adjusters interpret that as a sign that the person is completely healed, even though that this may not be the case. Further, it may require extensive medical treatment in order to completely heal from injuries and discontinuing treatment could obstruct a complete and expeditious recovery.
Be aware of and honest about your limits
As soon as a claim is made, the insurance adjuster will most likely hire a private investigator to conduct videotaped surveillance on you. The investigator will follow you with surveillance equipment and try to “catch” you doing an activity that can be used to minimize the seriousness of your injuries. Obviously, you cannot stop living your life after an accident, but it is important not to attempt to push your body too quickly before it can heal. Most importantly, you risk aggravating your injuries. Also, you can be sure that the insurance company’s investigator will be watching you.
Watch what you publish
The adjuster will hire someone to search your social media websites such as Facebook or a personal blog to pull out anything that can be used to undermine the seriousness of your injuries. An innocuous post or update that you “feel good today” will be used against you. An old picture of you jogging will be attempted to be used against you. In order to combat this tactic, you should activate your privacy settings on your social media profile and also scrub your web page of any pictures showing you engaged in activities.
Be honest with your attorney about your past
When preparing for deposition, be assured that the attorney for the insurance company will have already run a background and criminal record check on you. He/she will know if you have been arrested or convicted of a crime. They will know if you have previous traffic tickets. They will even know if you have ever been a party to a lawsuit or filed for bankruptcy. The purpose for gathering this information is not to use it against you at trial because most if not all of that information is inadmissible. The reason is to catch you in a lie at deposition. They will ask you questions regarding embarrassing personal information to see if they can get you to answer incompletely or falsely. Don’t fall for this trick. Be honest even about personal information with the full knowledge that it this information is most likely inadmissible at trial.
Finally, the attorney for the other party will also have your medical records and know your medical history. When preparing for your deposition, be sure to speak to a close family member to recall all of your medical history. The insurance attorney will ask you questions regarding your medical history (even though he/she already has that information) to try to catch you in a “lie” even though it most likely is merely an oversight on your part.
If you are looking for an attorney that has experience working for insurance companies, please contact us.