I hate to reveal the secrets of personal injury litigation that help me reduce my student loan debt and feed the families of my staff. However, I was given a second chance at life for a reason and that reason could be to educate you on not getting screwed by your insurance company or an at fault party’s insurance company.
As with any legal endeavor the most important factors are the facts and circumstances surrounding the issue, or problem. Each case is different and there is no universal answer for every case. These are the most basic rules I could think of without leading you astray.
- Liability/Contributor to Negligence– Who? What? Where? When? and How Many? are questions you need to identify in regards to how you incurred the damages, either personal or property, with your claim.
- James K. Ferrell of the Memphis Injury Law Blog gives a great 10 Step Guideline to follow after an automobile accident. No need for me to recreate the wheel. I would just replace #10 with "Call Me".
- Ken Dolan of Dolans.com has an article entitled "How to Win the Claim Game" for property claim tips.
- Pictures are worth a 1,000 words– take them of the area in question, pot hole, car wreck, broken porch, malfunctioning product, dog biting you, etc.
- Devil is in the Details– Do not, I repeat, DO NOT trust what insurance claims adjusters tell you. Insurance adjusters work for the insurance company. DING, DING, DING. That means they are not looking out for your interest but their employer’s interest.
- Yesterday, I had a client come in that had been in a rear end collision and he went to visit with the Farm Bureau adjuster for that at fault driver. The Farm Bureau adjuster offered the gentleman a check for $215.00 for ALL CLAIMS arising out of the accident. My client was savvy enough to realize that his car alone may have more damage than $215.00 much less the Emergency Room visit, several follow up appointments with his family care doctor, and the MRI that he was sent for in regards to his neck pain.
- Another time, I had a client hit while exiting a school bus. The Nationwide Adjuster was looking for his parents that night and offered them $700.00 to settle his claim. My client had just gotten back from the ER and referred to an orthopedist for his leg. I ended up getting them more than $10,000.00.
- Why do insurance adjusters do this? If they can get you to take a check for $215.00 now before you realize the true extent of your injuries they just saved their company tens of thousands of dollars.
- Once you sign the adjuster’s form you have just signed your rights away against the at fault party. Read my Can You Read? article.
- Consult Someone that Does this for a Living– don’t ask your friend, mama, daddy, boss man, insurance adjuster for the insurance company, or Joe the Plumber. Ask someone that handles these type of cases. Reference my Do I need a Doctor, Lawyer, or Preacher articles.
a. When I needed to remodel my foreclosure home, I called a contractor.
b. When my Tahoe breaks down, I call a mechanic.
c. When I hurt my arm in a wreck, I consulted a doctor.
d. When my tooth hurts, I go to the dentist.