If you’ve been injured because of someone else’s negligence, you’ll likely have to deal with an insurance company. Maybe you slipped and fell at the mall or you were bitten by your neighbor’s dog. Even car accidents can lead to personal injury cases in Alabama. The at-fault party’s insurance company is likely to contact you and ask for a recorded statement.
They will do very soon after the accident in the hopes that your guard will be down. You may think it is best to talk to them so you can get compensated quickly. However, this is not always a good idea. Your comments may be used against you. If an insurance company calls you, it is best to get advice from an Alabama personal injury lawyer before you speak to them.
Why an Alabama Personal Injury Lawyer Will Warn You About Insurance Companies
Insurance companies work hard to avoid paying out claims. When they call you, they will try to get an idea of how much your claim is worth. They will also look for ways to limit the amount they have to pay or simply deny your claim. The adjuster will appear friendly and they will try to convince you they are acting in your best interests. However, they are only looking out for the company which employs them.
At first, it may seem like they just want basic information about how the accident occurred. Sometimes, they tell victims this is so they can get them some money upfront for their medical expenses. However, this is rarely the case. Insurance companies don’t typically offer preliminary compensation for medical bills or lost wages.
They know it will be hard for you to think straight when you’re struggling with an injury. Communicating effectively with an insurance company will be especially difficult. That’s why you shouldn’t give a recorded statement or sign any documents without legal advice. If you do, you could make your lawyer’s job much harder later on. It will be hard to dispute the statement you signed even if you later discover it contained inaccuracies. Depending on the nature of the case, you may not be able to get a fair settlement.
Tips an Alabama Personal Injury Lawyer Would Give Clients When Dealing with Insurance Companies
If you retain an attorney, they will either speak on your behalf or give you guidelines about what you should say. They may advise you not to:
- Tell the insurer your injuries are minor. Remember, the insurance company is aiming to pay out as little as possible. They will look for evidence that you were at fault for your injuries or that you weren’t seriously injured. Even if you don’t immediately appear to have serious injuries, your condition could change later.
- Volunteer information. You may think you can help your case by giving lots of information but this isn’t a good idea. You should only answer the questions you’re asked. The insurance adjuster will try to get you to commit to a particular version of events. However, what you remember or feel may change in the days following the accident.
- Guess or speculate about what happened. If you don’t know exactly how your injury occurred, don’t share any assumptions with the adjuster.
How Alabama’s Contributory Negligence Law Can Affect Your Case
Under Alabama law, victims cannot recover damages if they were also at fault for their injuries. Alabama is the only state that completely prevents recovery if the plaintiff is partially at fault. Most states follow a comparative negligence system. This allows the victim to get compensation even if they are partially at fault.
Under a pure comparative negligence system, your damages would be reduced in proportion to your degree of fault. With modified comparative negligence, you must be less than 50 percent at fault to claim damages for your injuries.
Unfortunately, neither of these apply in Alabama. That’s why you need to do everything in your power to avoid being blamed for your injuries. Generally, only children and mentally challenged people are considered incapable of being contributorily negligent.
Contact The Vance Law Firm to Discuss Your Personal Injury Case Today!
If you’re dealing with a personal injury case, you need help from an Alabama personal injury lawyer. The insurance company will have adjusters and attorneys on their side ,and you shouldn’t be unrepresented. You shouldn’t even speak to the adjusters without legal counsel. What may seem like an easy way to settle your claim could turn out to be anything but. To ensure you have the best chance of getting compensation, schedule a consultation today.