Things to keep in mind when dealing with insurance companies and adjusters – Ottawa accident lawyers helping accident victims obtain fair and reasonable compensation for their injuries.
Insurance companies owe obligations to their shareholders. Like most businesses, insurance companies need to make a profit. Insurance claims adjusters are highly trained professionals who work for companies and injured persons. Their job is to assess cases and minimize the amount of payment on any legitimate claims advanced. Like all industries, the insurance industry has developed certain techniques in an attempt to reduce claims and payouts. The following are general examples of things to keep in mind when dealing with insurance companies and claim adjuster.
In many cases, insurance adjusters will ask unrepresented parties to sign statements outlining the events leading to the injuries they sustained. They will ask for this signed statement under the guise that it is part of their usual investigation and that they are charged with the obligation to gather all relevant facts. Insurance adjusters will attempt to obtain statements from both the injured person and witnesses to the accident. While there is nothing wrong with obtaining relevant facts to any claims being advanced, it is unwise for any injured person to sign a statement and provide it to the insurance company. The only possible exception to this rule is where the law requires an insured person to provide a signed statement for their own insurance company. Even in this case, it is wise to obtain legal advice prior to providing any signed statements anyway, including your insurer.
In many cases, the adjuster will record conversations between themselves and the injured person, transcribe the recording and then ask the injured person to sign the statement. Usually, this occurs at the initial meeting between the insurance adjuster and the injured person who is not represented by a lawyer. In almost all cases, the insurance adjuster will want to meet with the injured person for an interview before the injured person retains a lawyer. Insurance adjusters know that experienced lawyers would never allow their clients to sign a statement or be interviewed by the adjuster, whether or not it is recorded and without the lawyer being present.
Insurance adjusters, with their experience and training, are able to tailor specific questions to elicit certain answers that may not be in the best interest of the injured person or the case.
In most cases, the insurance adjuster will not provide the injured person with a copy of the statement they just signed and it is often very difficult to obtain a copy of the statement in the future.
At Ottawa personal injury lawyers, we can provide you with legal advice in relation to how and when it is in your best interest to meet with an insurance adjuster. It is almost never in your best interest to sign a statement. Anything that you sign can be used in the future against you and in a court proceeding that may be commenced.
Authorization Forms and Directions to Release Information
In a case where the injured person meets with the adjuster without a lawyer present will ask the person to sign a medical authorization and often other directions to release information from various third-parties. In most cases, the authorization and direction forms are open ended. The signing of these documents will provide the insurance company and the adjuster with authority to access not only relevant information but completely irrelevant information including a complete medical history, financial records and other documents that should have been held private. In many cases, insurance adjusters will not tell you what limits they will place on the documents you have signed. In many cases, insurance adjusters will review your full medical history and analyse pre-existing medical conditions that are likely unrelated to any of the issues in your personal injury claim.
While it is important to be cooperative with the insurance company and insurance adjusters involved, it is in your best interest to have your own lawyer obtain all relevant documentation is supplied to the insurance company rather than happy insurance company and their adjusters or access to information that may not be relevant to any of the issues in your personal injury claim.
There is no obligation and law to supply insurance companies and their adjusters with medical directions or authorizations or any other type of direction/ authorization. In reality, only relevant documentation should be supplied to the insurance company after it is obtained by your personal injury lawyer.
Adjusters May Say You Don’t Need an Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyer
There are some adjusters that will attempt to dissuade an injured person from hiring a lawyer. They may suggest that the claim is relatively straightforward and that a lawyer will only take part of the settlement, leaving less for the injured person. There are valid reasons why insurance adjusters would prefer that an injured person not hire a lawyer. Firstly, Ottawa personal injury lawyer will explain to the injured person all their rights and interests and will take all steps necessary to maximize the recovery. This is contrary to what the insurance companies and insurance adjuster will do for the injured person. In most cases, the injured person will receive much more compensation by being represented by an experienced Ottawa personal injury lawyer. In addition, the claim will get much more complicated because the lawyer will insist that certain steps be taken such as the retaining of medical experts and other efforts to value the injured person’s claim. Finally, in addition to many other reasons, insurance adjusters do not like the involvement of personal injury lawyers because once they are involved insurance company and insurance adjusters are prohibited from speaking with the injured person directly. In other words, everything must go through the injured person’s lawyer.
In many cases where the injuries are serious the insurance company will hire private investigators in similar professions to conduct video surveillance of the injured person. This will be done surreptitiously and without any notice to the injured person. Insurance companies can then select which footage to use against the injured person.
Obviously, there are always some days where the injured person feels better and is able to be more active and there are many other days where the pain is significant and the injured person cannot perform the usual and ordinary tasks of daily living.
The investigators will try to catch you off-guard by videotaping you without your knowledge or consent. Their aim is to obtain footage of you doing something that can later be used against you in settlement negotiations or at trial. The investigators will follow you, stake out your home, videotape you coming in and out of your home, videotape you in your yard or running errands. They are videotaping your every move in an attempt to try and catch you doing something that can hurt your personal injury claim.
What is important to note is that when insurance companies conduct surveillance they are 100% in control of the private investigators and all surveillance.
This brief article provides some basic information about how insurance companies may interact with unrepresented injured people.
To learn more about your rights as an injured person contact one of our lawyers free of charge. Our law firm focuses on personal injury and accident cases and have helped thousands of victims obtain fair and reasonable compensation for their injuries. Our lawyers work on a no fee until you win basis. If there is no settlement our clients are not charged anything.
QTMG Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyers