At the Rivas Law Group, one of the first things we tell a client who has been injured in a car accident is not to sign any agreements or give a recorded statement to the defendants’ insurance company.
No matter what an insurance adjuster may tell you, there’s no law in Florida requiring you to give a statement to an insurance company after an accident. In fact, there are many good reasons not to.
An insurance company is just that — a company. And like most companies, they’re in business to make a profit for their shareholders. If you’ve been injured through the negligence of one of their policyholders, compensating you for your damages is going to eat into those profits.
They’re going to do everything to keep the costs to a minimum — zero, if possible. That means lowballing plaintiffs with cash settlements that rarely cover the full cost of their damages or trying to trick a plaintiff into making a statement that may be used against them at the bargaining table.
Calls from an Insurance Company After an Accident
Typically plaintiffs receive a call from the insurance company requesting them to answer a few questions to “firm up liability” or “assess credibility” in their case. Don’t fall for it. Their questions are designed to look for weaknesses and inconsistencies in your case. Your answers will be used during the defense’s cross-examination.
Many times the plaintiff doesn’t remember exactly what was said in the recorded statement and may inadvertently contradict themselves. The defense will use this in an effort to portray the plaintiff’s testimony as untrustworthy.
There may be some instances in which it is necessary to give a recorded statement to an insurance company — but always do so with an attorney present and be very careful about the information you provide. Only answer the question asked; don’t provide any additional information.
Anything You Say Can and Probably Will Be Used Against You by the Insurance Company
It’s not just the insurance company — we recommend that you don’t discuss your case with anyone except your attorney. This includes your friends, families and neighbors. It’s not unusual for an insurance company to speak with these people after your motor vehicle accident. The claims adjuster will give them the impression that the interview is an attempt to help your case, but in reality they’re looking for statements to discredit your claim.
The same goes for social media. The insurance companies will comb through your postings, looking for pictures or statements that may give an erroneous impression as to the severity of your injuries.
Answers to Your Questions About Lakeland Car Accidents
Florida is a comparative liability state, meaning that if a driver is partially at fault in a multi-vehicle accident, the compensation will be directly proportional to the drivers’ percentage of fault. Unraveling who is at fault in these complicated situations can be tricky, and hiring an experienced attorney is the best way to make sure you have covered all your bases.
Every case is different, and for most legal settlements, the details can cause drastically different outcomes. Some factors that can affect the outcome include:
• The insurance coverage of the other driver(s)
• The cost of past and future medical expenses
• Past and future lost earnings
• Pain and Suffering
There are several things you can do after an accident to make sure you get the settlement you deserve, including:
• You must remain at the scene of the accident.
• Ensure that any other motorists, passengers, or pedestrians who may have been injured in the accident receive immediate assistance.
• If necessary, contact the police and emergency responders.
• Observe the accident scene and collect evidence.
• Seek medical attention
• Contact an experienced attorney
Speak With an Experienced Lakeland Personal Injury Attorney
If you’ve been injured in an auto accident that was caused by somebody else’s negligence, the first thing to do is seek medical treatment. The second thing to do is hire a personal injury attorney to protect your rights. Don’t give a recorded statement to the negligent party’s insurance company or accept a settlement until you’ve had a chance to speak with a personal injury attorney.
For over 12 years, Tania Rivas and the Rivas Law Group have been representing clients in Lakeland, Winter Haven, Lutz and other Central Florida communities in a wide range of personal injury litigation. We won’t let you fall victim to the insurance company’s trickery — we’ll fight aggressively to get you the biggest cash settlement possible.
Don’t wait until it’s too late to take action. Contact Lakeland personal injury lawyer Tania Rivas and the Rivas Law Group to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case and offer experienced legal advice. There are no up-front costs to our clients if we decide to take their case; and they only pay our fees after we win their case.