Car insurance companies want you to think that you are in "good hands"
with them, and that they are your "good neighbor", but the truth
is that they are in business to make a profit. That profit is increased
by every dollar they don't pay out in insurance claims.
As a personal injury firm representing those hurt in car accidents, we are the team that is on your
side, not your insurance company. To demonstrate what we know about the
insurance industry, here are five things you will never hear an insurance
company admit in a television or print ad.
1. The insurance company is not allowed to raise your premium because of
an accident where you were not at fault.
Insurance companies are always looking for reasons to raise your premiums,
but in accordance with Florida law, they cannot do so just because you
were involved in an accident that was not your fault. The statute only
allows the insurer to raise your premiums if you are found to have been
"substantially at fault", or more than 51% at fault, for an accident.
The insurance company is also required to reimburse your for any surcharge
or increase in premiums that were levied if you can prove at a later date
you were not at fault for the accident. Proof includes your ticket being
dismissed in court, or in the case of a "hit-and-run" accident
in which you were the victim, as long as you reported the accident to
authorities within 24 hours.
Read more on the specific Florida law on this issue here:
UNFAIR INSURANCE TRADE PRACTICES (ss. 626.951-626.99)
2. Signing anything is a mistake without first talking to a lawyer.
The insurance company's claims department is run by a group of very
smart people. They know that the sooner they can get you to sign on the
dotted line to settle your insurance claim, the less money they have to pay out.
After a car accident, the average person wants to simply put the experience
behind them. Accepting the insurance company's offer to settle your
claim is the easiest way to do that. However, unless you are a lawyer
who is familiar with the practices and process of auto insurance claims,
you really don't know what you are signing!
You could be waiving your right to bring a claim for injuries in the future,
or settling for an insultingly small amount of money compared to what
you deserve. Don't ever sign anything from the insurance company without
consulting a competent personal injury attorney.
3. The insurance adjuster is not there to help you.
The auto insurance claims adjuster works for the insurance company, not
you. Their job is to establish a value for your claim on behalf of the
insurer. They have a lot of open claims, and their primary interest is
to close your file for as little money as possible and move on.
As a result, your need for a fair amount of money on your claim is not
their priority. Auto claims adjusters are seasoned professionals with
strong negotiation skills. Don't try to make friends with them, and
don't try to negotiate –
call a personal injury lawyer instead.
4. You can still call a lawyer even if you have already spoken to your
insurance company following an accident.
Of course, the insurance company would never tell you this! Your car accident
attorney can step into the process anytime, as long as you haven't
yet signed and accepted their offer. The sooner you contact a lawyer,
the better, of course, so don't wait too long after the initial contact
with the insurance company – especially if you have been hurt in
5. You are not in good hands, and the insurance company is not your good neighbor.
Insurance companies are businesses, not people. While the peace of mind
that you gain as a car insurance policyholder is valuable, so too are
the personal losses you experience, both emotional and physical, after
Insurance companies do not have your best interests in mind when it comes
time to settle your claim. They exist to generate and protect profits.
Adjusters are encouraged to offer less than your case is worth and get
the claim closed. Don't fall for their entertaining marketing gimmicks
and slogans. Instead, call a car accident injury attorney you can trust.