Being in a car accident is never fun. In fact, if you find yourself in a serious accident, it will likely be one of the worst experiences of your life. Being in an accident with one other vehicle can be bad enough, but if you are involved in a multiple car accident, determining liability can become very muddied. Depending on where the accident took place, liability could be assigned either proportionally or all upon a single driver.
Whose Insurance Should I Deal With?
For those hurt in a car accident, determining who is going to pay for your injuries is going to be one of your top priorities. Medical bills can start piling up pretty quickly, and you may feel the pressure to get out from under them. However, while determining fault in a two-vehicle accident is often fairly straightforward, determining liability in a multi-car accident is usually much more complicated.
Delays in determining liability tend to translate into delays in receiving payment. With accidents involving multiple vehicles, there are going to be many investigators looking into the cause. The insurance companies for every driver involved will have their investigators look into the accident. Many drivers will also hire lawyers who will have their own investigative teams do their thing.
These investigators will all be biased on the part of their clients, and often a consensus cannot be reached. In this situation, the matter will have to be decided in court. However, in some cases, there is a clear party at fault. In the latter case, you will want to file a claim with the insurance provider of the at-fault driver.
Whether negotiating with one insurance company or many, bringing in a qualified personal injury attorney will go far in protecting your interests and getting you a fair settlement offer. Insurance adjusters are trained to do everything in their power to legally deny a claim or, barring that, massively devalue it.
Some of the tactics that an insurance adjuster will try to use against you to devalue your claim include:
- Hurrying to document your claim
- Quickly offering a settlement
- Requesting a recorded statement
- Delaying the claims process
- Trying to dissuade you from hiring an attorney
Hurrying to Document Your Claim
An insurance adjuster will likely try to contact you before you have even had a chance to file a claim if it is clear that their client was at-fault for the accident. Sometimes they will contact you while you are still in the hospital, even on the same day that the accident occurred. They are aware that many severe injuries don’t immediately display symptoms and therefore take time to diagnose.
They want to get your claim in motion before you get a chance to discover any other injury costs so you’ll miss your chance to claim them as well.
Quickly Offering a Settlement
While insurance adjusters are trying to get your claim filed, they will likely try to settle it as well. They know that this is the period when you are most vulnerable, and that it’s their best chance at catching you off guard. You will likely still be somewhat disoriented by your circumstance, and you probably will not have spoken to an attorney at this point. By offering quick money, they will hope to get you to agree before understanding the true value of your claim.
Requesting a Recorded Statement
The adjuster will also ask you to give a recorded statement so that they can help determine liability. However, this is just a tactic to try to get you to say something that will hurt your case. The adjuster will ask leading questions and hope that you say something you shouldn’t.
Delaying the Claims Process
If the quick attack approach doesn’t work against you, they will likely slow things way down. They will drag out the claims process with the hope of making you more desperate as medical bills continue to pile up. They want you to get to a point where you decide you can’t wait for the money any longer, so you will take an amount far below what your claim is worth.
Trying to Dissuade You From Hiring an Attorney
To avoid fighting a fair fight, an insurance adjuster will likely suggest that you settle your claim without getting lawyers involved. They will tell you that hiring a lawyer will be too expensive.
The truth is, most personal injury lawyers will not collect a penny unless you receive a settlement. Many different factors influence the average settlement for a car accident, and hiring a lawyer is one of the biggest of these. A qualified attorney can help you get an offer that is often several times larger than what you would receive on your own.
Whoever is determined to be responsible, having an attorney familiar with multi-car accidents on your side will leave you in the best position possible. They know how to deal with insurance companies and can take a load off of your shoulders so that you can focus on recovery.