Settlement Releases by Phone

With increasing frequency we are hearing from individuals that were injured and then contacted by an insurance adjuster trying to settle their case within a day or two of the injury.

In a recent case, an adjuster contacted a man that was injured in a car wreck on the Monday morning following a Friday evening wreck.  The adjuster offered to pay him $3,500 to settle his claim.  The gentleman called me to ask “is this a good deal?”  Needless to say, it wasn’t a good deal.

The man had been to the hospital, but had absolutely no idea what his medical expenses were.  The man has his own medical insurance that will pay for his medical treatment, but his medical insurance company would have to be repaid from any settlement in the case.  The insurance company didn’t tell him that.  The man had follow up medical visits scheduled.  The insurance company had no intention of paying for those, but didn’t tell the man that.  At the time the insurance adjuster was trying to get the man to agree to a telephone release, the man was taking prescription pain medications that could have impacted his judgment.  Long story short, it was a good decision on the man’s part to contact an attorney before agreeing to a settlement.

There is no rush in settling an injury case.  The insurance company or adjuster for the person that injured you is not your friend.  You aren’t in their “good hands” and they are not there to help you.  They have one goal and that is to settle the case as quick and as cheap as possible.   Do not do it!

Do not speak with an adjuster beyond what is required to obtain their contact information.  If you have an attorney, give the adjuster your attorney’s contact information and terminate the call.  If you don’t have an attorney, tell the adjuster that you do not wish the discuss the case at this time.  Then, go find an attorney to consult on the matter.  Do not give the adjuster a statement (recorded or otherwise) about how the injury occurred.  You are under no legal requirement to do so and may seriously damage your case by speaking with the adjuster.

Do not sign any documents or an authorization for the adjuster to obtain medical records.  While some of your medical records may be relevant to your injury claim, you do not want to give an unlimited authorization for an adjuster to obtain every medical record that has been created for you since birth.

The bottom line – Always consult an attorney before speaking with an insurance adjuster or providing any documents to an insurance adjuster.


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