Don’t. Sign. Anything.

| October 18, 2011 | Comments (0)

A disturbing scheme by insurance companies is killing victims’ chances of a fair settlement and it is something you MUST be aware of.  While it was my good friend and fellow attorney Ross Jurewitz of San Diego who brought the tactic up, I can assure you that this is not exclusive to California.

Basically, insurance adjusters are showing up to the homes of individuals who have been injured and offering them “X” amount to “settle” their claim on the spot.  In return, the victim must sign a waiver stating they will forgo any of their rights to legal action.

By approaching victims at their most vulnerable point, adjusters are able to offer disgustingly low amounts without any worry of ever being sued or required to pay a fair settlement.

For example, a single mother is rear-ended and injured while on her commute to work.  Because of her injuries, she is unable to go to work and gets behind on some of her bills.  Additionally, her vehicle is badly damaged and needs to be fixed.  It’s not difficult to see that she is in a tough position and some extra cash would go a long ways.

This is a perfect opportunity for the insurance adjuster’s scheme.  Preying on her vulnerability, the insurance company will approach her, many times coming to her home, and offer a check for an amount well below what she is owed.  All she has to do is sign a waiver saying she won’t seek additional payment or legal action.

Many times, the victim, not knowing better, and in an incredibly tough position, will take the quick money.  In reality, her settlement would likely be worth much, much more.

Not just a California thing, this manipulative way of doing business is used by various insurance adjusters across the country.  It’s a despicable way of doing business and, like many things, the best way to combat it is through education.

So, what do consumers need to know?

First of all, if you have been a wreck, do NOT sign ANYTHING until you have spoken to a lawyer.  This cannot be stressed enough.  Even if the insurance company isn’t offering one of these quick “settlements,” there is always a chance that what you are signing could be damaging to your case.

If the insurance company makes you an offer, you truly have nothing to lose by reviewing it with an attorney.  An experienced personal injury lawyer will either see that the offer is unfair and offer to represent you to get the settlement you deserve, or, if the offer is fair, they will let you know.

No matter what, just remember, the insurance company is not in the business of paying out quick, fair settlements.  If they are knocking on your door and offering you a check, you can bet that they are NOT looking out for your best interests.

Category: Lawyer's Advice

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