Giving a Statement to an Insurance Company Cannot hurt me, Can it?
Just this morning our office received a smug call from an adjuster. In a wreck that happened less than a week ago, she was indicating that before hiring our firm, the client had released her claim because our client gave a recorded statement in which she had agreed to take some nominal amount of money for her claim. The client immediately called the adjuster back and said that she did not want the money that she was hurting worse than she thought in the day or two after the wreck. The adjuster still said essentially, too bad so sad. I listened to the statement, it was couched as an oral release agreement. Again, the wreck happened less than a week ago. Did giving a statement an “oral release agreement” to that insurance company harm our client?
The short answer is, “we will have to see.” A purported oral release is a new twist to an old insurance company trick of “swoop and settle.” Swoop in after a significant wreck and settle the claim for pennies on the dollar when there is likely to be a much more severe injury claim from the wreck. The elderly, the uneducated and minorities are far more likely to be victims of this tactic, but I have seen it with folks of all walks of life consistently throughout my 27 year career.
Regardless if the situation can be fixed, by talking to the adjuster, the client created unnecessary road blocks that will cost additional time, money and effort to fix if it can be fixed at all. I am sure that when the client agreed to talk to the adjuster, the client was not expecting to placed under immediate pressure to consider and agree to a pittance to release a serious injury claim. The client did not know what she did not know.
My firm has given guidance on our website to keep these very errors from harming someone after a serious injury. Please, do not make errors that can harm you after a serious injury. While doing it yourself can make sense with some home improvement projects, the legal field is not one that is conducive to DIY. The fact that you are attempting to DIY makes you a target for unethical insurance companies. They will try to harm you and will not think twice about it. They won’t even attempt such nonsense with a law firm that knows the rules, the value of the case and how to prosecute the case for maximum effect. Be forewarned and seek help if you are injured from someone who has a legal duty to act in your best interest, a qualified serious injury lawyer.