Even if you get into a minor fender bender, you should be aware of these tricks used by insurance companies to get away with paying you as little as possible for your injuries.
Introducing: The Insurance Claim Adjuster
An Insurance Claim Adjuster‘s job is to investigate claims, determine who is at fault, and pay the smallest amount of money possible. They will always start with a low-ball offer, often far below the full amount that you are likely eligible for. At this point, most people will just accept that offer and move on with their lives. After all, who wants to drag out a scary, possibly even traumatic time in their lives?
One of the most common tricks used by insurance companies: Settle quickly, before an injury can be diagnosed.
You may later learn that you need to undergo an operation or months of physical therapy for a serious injury
When you get into a car accident, adrenaline and stress hormones dull pain. This physiological response served an important purpose during our evolution – Being able to delay pain allowed us the time and ability to escape danger. Great for when you’re running away from a bear or tiger; Not so great when trying to accurately assess injury after an accident. This is why it is incredibly important to visit a doctor as soon as possible after a car accident. Some injuries like whiplash and ligament damage often take several days to weeks to make themselves known.
Insurance claim adjusters know this, and they literally make money off the fact that you do not know this.
Other common tricks used by insurance companies include:
Getting you to admit fault
When you get into an accident, you will receive a phone call from the at-fault party’s insurance company. They will ask to record your statement of events, asking you what happened, when, where, etc. on a recorded line. Anything you say during this phone call can, and will, be used to reduce, deny or even reverse your claim.
You might end up paying the at-fault driver, for an accident that wasn’t your fault!
They want you to slip up and say the wrong thing. They know which statements to use against you. Even if you argue in your own favor, they will use the slightest admittance of fault against you. Saying something as simple as “i’m sorry this happened” or “I just didn’t see the other driver until it was too late” can be used against you.
Accident victims are often in a vulnerable state, having just been through a traumatic experience, medical treatment, and the added stress of paying future bills on their minds. Don’t put it past insurance companies to take advantage of that.
It is best to tell the insurance representative that you have legal representation and any questions will be answered by your attorney.
Getting you to release your medical records
In addition to asking for a recorded statement, the insurance company will likely ask you to sign a release so they can have access to your medical records. Why would they want access to your medical records? Most likely, they plan to downplay the extent of your injuries. They will argue that your injuries are exaggerated or not related to your crash. They may also ask why you waited so long to see a doctor if your medical treatment was delayed.
Adjusters use past medical records against you by claiming that the medical treatment you had was due to a pre-existing condition or old injury, and not a result of the accident. That’s why providing documents without the advice of a lawyer first is a big no-no.
If they ask you to sign a release, simply decline. Let our experienced attorneys get a copy of your medical records so we can link your injury to the crash.
Giving you an arbitrary deadline
This is one of the most common tricks used by insurance claim adjusters. They will issue a low-ball settlement offer, then tell you that you have until a certain date to accept this offer before it is rescinded. The truth is that this deadline is completely arbitrary. They want you to feel scared and uncertain, and that if you don’t accept this offer, you may get nothing at all. This is especially true if you are receiving medical treatment – They want you to accept their offer before the full extent of your injuries, treatment and recovery is known.
You are not obligated to accept this offer. Tell them that you will be consulting with legal council before accepting any offer they make.
Acting like they are your friend who is only here to help you
One of the oldest tricks used by insurance adjusters: They’re your buddy, your concerned friend, who just wants to help you get this all figured out quickly so you can get back to your normal life.
Put quite simply, this is a lie. They may be perfectly nice people in real life, but while doing their job, they are not there to help you. Their loyalty first and foremost is to their company and to the negligent party, so this is just a manipulation tactic to make you feel like you’re in good hands. Any assertion of working for your benefit is not only false but also contradictory to their job description. If they try to convince you not to seek legal representation because they claim they’ll take care of you, do not fall for it.
Steps you can take to avoid these tricks used by insurance companies:
Don’t give a recorded statement
You are not obligated to give an on-record statement, and anything you do say may be used against you.
Don’t accept the first settlement offer
Even if it seems like a lot of money, it is not nearly as much as you may be entitled to. The fact that they are offering you money at all means that they know they are at-fault. Their only job is to get away with paying you as little as they can, and their first offer will ALWAYS be for the lowest amount they think you will accept.
Don’t provide access to your medical records
Your attorney will provide them with ONLY the medical records relevant to your case. If you sign a release for your medical records, insurance companies can obtain records from years and years ago, which they will use to try and diminish your claim.
Provide only the bare minimum details necessary
Don’t offer up any unnecessary or extra details that could be used against you. Don’t let them convince you that the medical treatment you received was unnecessary or downplay your injuries. All details about the extent of your injuries or your medical treatment should be provided by your attorney.
Hire an experienced attorney.
This one may be a bit obvious, but it’s truly the most effective antidote to use against insurance claim adjuster secret tactics. As soon as adjusters are informed that you have a lawyer, they will stop using these tactics on you because they know we won’t fall for it.
For help and advice concerning your car, truck or motorcycle accident, call the experienced accident attorneys at Cowan & Hilgeman. Your case review is completely FREE, with no obligation. If we don’t win, you don’t pay a dime. Call (937) 222-2030 today.
Being involved in a car accident can be a trying time in one’s life. Experiencing an injury from such an event changes your life. No matter the perceived extent of your injury, you should not ignore them. One of the most controversial and common injuries in rear-end collisions is Whiplash. So What is the big deal about Whiplash? What do you do if you have Whiplash from an Ohio car accident?
What is Whiplash?
Whiplash is a non-medical term used to cover the symptoms of neck pain. It results from sudden trauma of forceful back-and-forth motion of the neck, like the cracking of a whip. It happens most commonly when involved in a rear-end collision – even at speeds as low as 5 mph. Over 2 million American suffer from this type of injury every year. Whiplash usually has a recovery period of at least a few weeks. You should not treat this injury lightly! Even though they are rare, long-term complications do occur. Even minor pain can indicate the very real threat of a fracture and should be checked at the hospital or at your family doctor’s office.
If you have been injured in a car accident – get help immediately. Call 911!
Headaches, most often starting at the base of the skull
Tenderness or pain in the shoulder, upper back or arms
Tingling or numbness in the arms
Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
What should you do if you have whiplash?
Just like any other injury in a car accident, there are steps you should take to protect yourself.
To learn more about what to do if you are in an Ohio car accident, click here.
Whiplash is linked to rear-end collisions, meaning someone has usually hit you with their car – and you may not be at fault. If you or a loved one has suffered from Whiplash and do not know what to do, we are here for you. Call our offices to schedule and appointment and allow us to help you navigate the confusing aftermath of an Ohio car crash. You don’t have to suffer alone.
A car accident can change your life permanently. If you have suffered any type of brain injury from a car accident, you will need to adjust your daily activities to accommodate your new normal. But what can you expect to face after such an injury? Furthermore, if you weren’t at fault for the accident, how do you hold others accountable for it? How can you receive the compensation you deserve after such a traumatic event?
What is a brain injury?
According to brainline.org ¨Traumatic brain injury (TBI) refers to damage or destruction of brain tissue due to a blow to the head.¨
There are many types of traumatic brain injuries, however, for the purpose of this article we are going to focus on ¨closed¨ injuries. One of the most common issues after an accident is whiplash. The quick movement of the head back and forth causes the brain to make contact with the skull- and can cause severe damage. This contact can lead to broken blood vessels, bruising, and can stretch and break the nerves responsible for proper brain function. This is why many patients who suffer a brain injury from an Ohio car accident have damage to their frontal and temporal lobes.
What happens after you have a brain injury from an Ohio car accident?
First and foremost, if you believe that you have suffered from a brain injury- get help! Call 911 if you are able, and have paramedics sent to you.
Many people assume you have to pass out to have a closed brain injury. This is NOT true!
Even a mild brain injury can impair your cognitive abilities, change your behavior, and impact your ability to enjoy life or work to earn a living. Regardless of the severity of your injury, you should see a doctor after a possible brain injury from an Ohio car accident.
Do you have any of the following symptoms?
severe or unrelenting headaches
changes in you behavior or mood
weakness in limbs
If so, consult with a doctor as soon as possible.
So, what happens next?
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a brain injury, it will change your whole life. The physical and emotional toll may impact your friends, family, and work-life. Beyond these hurdles, your journey to recovery is often arduous and expensive. Fighting these types of personal injury claims can be long and complicated, but you don’t have to do this alone. Our compassionate team is here to help you receive the fair and full compensation that you deserve. Call us at (937) 222-2030 for a case evaluation today, and eliminate one type of headache caused by dealing with your brain injury.
Dealing with a personal injury case can be exhausting. There are so many different items to check off on your to do list to prove your case. A million thoughts run through your head like:
Did I take enough pictures at the scene? Or am I able to show that I wasn’t at fault? When will I be able to go back to work? And for some the most important question: How in the world am I going to pay for all this?
While we may not be able to stop your internal chatter (we can’t help but give it a shot) we can answer that big question. While the financial aspect may loom and seem all encompassing, the pivotal part of a personal injury case is to focus on healing.
Easier said than done you say? Fair enough. For those of you who still have questions, here’s the scoop:
When hiring an attorney, most people assume that they will be stuck with high hourly fees to pay. Luckily, personal injury attorneys do not operate in this manner. Basically, this is a fee structure that works highly in your favor. It means that the attorney only gets paid if the result is an outcome that is favorable to you.
While that fee varies by attorney (typically 33%) what this means, across the board, is that your attorney will pay the fees up front (like investigation fees, setting up depositions, court costs, etc) and will be reimbursed if you win your case. Simply put, if you don’t win, you don’t pay.
Many successful personal injury cases rely on an expert witness to support your case. An expert witness is, as their title would suggest, experts in their field, often holding advanced degrees in their respective fields. At Cowan & Hilgeman Law, we know that the opinions of a reliable, highly-qualified expert witness can make or break a trial.
If we take your case on, you can rest assured that we will employ and pay for the best expert witness to support your case, with no out-of-pocket cost for you.
The best way to get all of your niggling questions answered is to set up a meeting with a personal injury attorney. We will be happy to let you give voice to your questions and settle your fears. Give us a call today and take the first step into regaining your peace of mind. Call (937) 222-2030 to schedule your FREE, no-obligation consultation with a personal injury attorney.
Facing a car accident can cause extreme strife and hardship in one’s life. Even a small fender bender with a tiny hybrid can be traumatic, and cause extensive damages to your well-being and the care of your car. When the smallest vehicles can cause such issues, you might shudder at the thought of the potential issues with something larger – like a commercial UPS truck…
Sadly, these accidents are all too often the cause of long term damages, and can even be lethal. If you or a loved one live in Ohio and are involved in an accident with a UPS truck, there are things you need to know.
First, you could be the beneficiary of compensation if you are not at fault.
However, it must be mentioned that the last thing a company like UPS wants is to make a large payout. They will try to avoid this with a legal team, drawn-out court dates, and denying liability for the accident. Our firm despises this lack of culpability, and have dedicated ourselves to prevent this from occurring with our clients. If you find yourself in this situation, please know that there is help available to you. There are specific steps you can take to help make your case. The following tips will help you if you have a car accident involving a UPS driver.
First and foremost, stop for a moment and give yourself a once over.
Are you feeling disoriented, dizzy, or sick? If you need medical attention, call 911 immediately. Before you can do anything else, it is paramount that you take care of yourself. Don’t push aside even the smallest discomfort, as it is common to have injured your neck, back, or spine without noticing it at first. This may seem odd, but when your body is put into flight-or-fight response, it may be difficult to ascertain the true nature of your injuries. If you do not get medical attention at the immediate time of the accident, it is still important that you visit a doctor in the next 24 hours. Request hard copies of the doctor’s report for your claim, and tell your physician that you were involved in an auto accident with a UPS truck.
Next, call the police.
Do not let the driver leave until they arrive. Have them come to the scene to file a traffic accident report. State the facts from your point of view, and do your best to remain calm and collected while doing so. You can ask the arriving officer to tell you who they cite to be at fault on the record. Also make a note of when you can expect it to be filed. Usually, this will happen in a few business days.
Like any other traffic incident, you should be sure to collect information from the UPS driver. Record their name/driver ID, the make and model of the vehicle, their insurance information (including any coverage provided by UPS) the license number, and also, whether they were actively working a shift or not. Before vehicles are moved or you leave the scene, try to make a clear physical record of the incident. Some important details to document are:
Date/Time it occured
Was it raining, foggy, sunny? Weather conditions could be a factor to negligence.
Pictures of all vehicle damage
Other details that may explain why the accident happened (sthe driver ran a red light, failed to use a turn signal, didn’t break, ect)
Put all of the information together to make a clear record of what happened. The more thorough you are, the better off you will be. Keep an eye out for any potential witnesses. If someone saw the accident, you may ask them if they would be willing to make a statement. Get their phone number and email.
Once you feel like you’ve collected all the evidence you can, the next step is to contact your insurance company
Call the UPS representative as well. (contact UPS at 1-800-742-5877) Don’t be surprised if UPS tries to claim that they aren’t liable for their driver – they often hire independent contractors, and try to use this as a loophole in these cases. Or if an employee was technically off duty (like a lunch break) or running a personal errand, the company can claim they were not at fault because it was outside the daily duties of the driver.
However, this does not mean that your claim is invalid – you just may need to take extra steps. No matter the circumstances of your accident with a UPS truck, or how UPS reacts, it can be tough to file a claim on your own. Don’t be afraid to reach out for extra resources.
Personal injury attorneys have dedicated their careers to protecting people like you. Having a trustworthy firm represent you after a truck accident could be one of the best decisions you make during these trying times, and gives you the best odds to receive the compensation you need. Why give yourself more strife? Call us for a free consultation today – (937) 222-2030
As a parent, our children are our top priority. We go out of our way to safeguard their health, well being, and to secure their happiness. Yet despite our best efforts, kids have a way of getting themselves into trouble. They learn the hard way. They have accidents. It’s entirely normal and to be expected – but sometimes it is others’ negligence that causes our kids to get hurt and isn’t their fault.
In these instances, it is easy to be bewildered that harm has come to your child, and to want to protect them in every way possible. In some cases, a child may have a right to make a personal injuries claim; however, in the great state of Ohio, it falls upon us as parents to take care of this for them. But is this legal?
Like most legal aspects of your minor child’s life, you are their legal guardian. According to The Ohio Rules for civil procedure rule 17(b) states that a “parent or legal guardian can file suit on a minor’s behalf.” When this occurs the parent is said to be suing as “next friend” of the minor.This means that minor is not required to personally seek recovery in court, and that the minor’s parents are allowed to stand in for him or her.
So yes, a parent can file a personal injury claim for their child in Ohio.
However, the law handles cases with minors differently than they would for an adult. The following highlights the major differences when dealing with a minor’s personal injury case, and how you as a parent can resolve the case for them.
The first thing you should be aware of for your child’s case is the difference in the statute of limitations for a minor. In cases with adults, the legal time frame for filing a claim is typically within 1-2 years of the injury, depending on the type of case. When a minor is involved, the time frame does not start until the child comes of age, at 18. This means that if your child is injured at say, age 14, you will not start the clock on the statute of limitations until their 18th birthday. So you have two years after the birthday, rather than two years after the date of the incident.
Beyond the change in the statute of limitations, as a parent you should be aware that you are entitled to consortium.
What is consortium? Consortium is ¨an association of two or more individuals, companies, organizations or governments with the objective of participating in a common activity or pooling their resources for achieving a common goal.¨ It can also be interpreted as the time you spend with a loved one under the activity category. So in this case, it means that you as a parent are entitled to compensation for a life-altering injury to your child. If you as a parent are forced into a new lifestyle because of the need to care for your child’s injuries, this can fall under loss of consortium, and you may be entitled to compensation as well. Like the statute of limitations, the time frame for loss of consortium begins after the minor turns 18. While there is precedent for receiving compensation for parents with loss of consortium involving a minor, it must be thoroughly proven in the claim. The best way to make sure this is fully covered in court is to enlist the aid of an experienced personal injury attorney.
Finally, one of the biggest differences in filing a claim for a minor in Ohio is how settlements are handled. As an adult, you have the legal authority to come to a settlement after being injured, without having to continue your suit in court. Yet as a child, this is not the case.
Under Ohio law it is known that a child can not be considered to have legal capacity to make contracts, including settlements. Even if a parent or legal guardian is filing a claim on behalf of a minor, a settlement will still have to go to court. This is how the Ohio court system ensures that any settlement is in the best interest of the minor, by providing a forum for unbiased judgement.
If your child has been injured and you feel you may need to file a personal injury claim on their behalf, call us today at (937) 222-2030. Our compassionate and dedicated staff will help you to handle the legal aspects of your claim so you can go back to doing what you do best – focusing on caring for you child.