The insurance company will tell you that they are going to take care of everything for your claim and that they are on your side. They’ll tell you they are going to save you time and money; all they need are your medical bills and records — just sign the medical authorization and the claim will be close to over. Don’t believe them.
Why should the car insurance company get access to all of your medical records? They don’t need to know all of your information.
The auto insurance company wants your medical history because they are looking for medical evidence that will give them an excuse to deny the injuries claimed or compensate you less for your accident claim. Embarrassing or confidential information in your medical records, even if it has nothing to do with your current car accident injury, is fair game for the auto insurance company to use against you if you sign a medical authorization.
At the Law Office of Brian Hargrove, we get contacted by people who have already tried to resolve the case on their own. Signing a medical authorization for the insurance company is a true case killer. These authorizations allow the insurance company to get all of your medical records, whether they are related to your accident or not. The medical authorization will be used to find some kind of documentation from another injury and then say the wreck their driver caused isn’t really what injured you.
When it comes to serious injuries received from a car wreck, you can generally expect to recover more money with the aid of an experienced personal injury attorney as opposed to handling your case on your own. Generally, personal injury victims who hire a car wreck lawyer recover 3.5 times more compensation than those who don’t. You need to have someone looking out for your best interests. Remember, the auto insurance company doesn’t make money by paying claims — the less they pay you, the more money they make. Do you really think the car wreck insurance adjuster is looking out for your best interest?
You should hire an experienced Texas personal injury lawyer as soon after the wreck as possible. An experienced personal injury attorney can make sure that the necessary evidence is collected and preserved (witness statements, pictures…). You need to focus on getting better — not dealing with the investigation and the insurance company adjuster. Plus, the sooner you let your car wreck attorney deal with the insurance company, the better chance for a favorable settlement. I see mistakes made by people everyday who try to represent themselves before hiring me, and these mistakes make it very difficult for me to obtain a favorable settlement.
Not only should you hire a lawyer to handle your personal injury claim, but you MUST hire the RIGHT lawyer. Don’t just hire the first “lawyer” you see on TV or some “lawyer” plastered all over the phone book. A key factor used by insurance companies when valuing a case is your attorney; the insurance companies keep records of which lawyers just settle cases and which lawyers go to trial. You need a lawyer who only focuses on personal injury; my sole practice is devoted to representing injury victims of car wrecks, motorcycle wrecks, and truck accidents.
After the initial claim is filed with the other driver’s car insurance company, the insurance company will usually want to take a recorded statement. This recorded statement is supposedly used to help the auto insurance company adjuster determine if they are going to accept responsibility for the car accident. However, the true purpose for a recorded statement is: to put the blame on you for the car wreck, to prove that you weren’t injured, or to argue that any injuries claimed are not related to this car wreck. The sole purpose of the recorded statement is for their benefit not yours, and this statement will be used against you.
The more the adjuster can get you to admit that you weren’t as harmed by the car wreck as you may claim, the lower settlement amount they have to offer. Texas is a contributory negligence state and therefore, if they can find a way to get you to admit that part of the auto accident was your fault, your claim will likely be denied.
Anything you say can and will be used against you. The adjuster asking the questions is a trained professional who knows how to ask questions to try to solicit information which will help his employer (the big insurance company) save money. When an car insurance adjuster calls to talk to you, be polite when speaking to them but know that you are under no obligation to talk to the adjuster and simply tell them you’ll be happy to speak to them, after you speak with your car wreck attorney.