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Secrets insurance companies don't tell you

By Robert J. DeBry and Associates  |  Posted Aug 1st, 2014 @ 2:02pm


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It wasn't supposed to happen, but you were involved in a car crash, due to no fault of your own, and now you are injured, facing lost time at work, vehicle damage and the insurance adjuster is calling.

We all have insurance on our vehicles and count on it to be there when we need it. But before accepting an offered payment, get the scoop on the secrets the insurance company won't tell you:

1. Insurance may cover more than vehicle repair, medical bills and lost wages.

Often the insurance company's payment includes only medical bills and lost wages. However, under Utah law you may also be entitled to money for pain and suffering, household expenses and changes in your lifestyle.

2. Why do most insurance adjusters recommend you don't hire an attorney?

There is a perception that hiring an attorney means your case is more likely to go to trial. In reality, less than five percent of vehicle crash/accident cases ever end up at trial, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. If the insurance company knows that you and your lawyer are ready for a trial, they will often be motivated to pay more and settle more quickly.

While an insurance company may not tell you all your rights and the financial resolutions that could be available to you after a crash, it is your attorney's obligation to inform you.

3. You can be compensated without causing your friend or family financial hardship.

Even if your friend or family member caused the accident, you can receive payment for your injuries without making a claim against them. Your claim is made against the insurance company. There will be no out-of-pocket cost your friend or family member. This is because virtually every Utah car insurance policy includes Personal Injury Protection (PIP) as part of the policy. To get these benefits, contact the insurance company covering the car in which you were riding.

A crash occurs every 10 minutes in Utah, and every 23 minutes one of those crashes involves a serious injury. It's wise to consider hiring and attorney to represent you and your claim.

4. You don't need to wait for an offer from the insurance company before hiring an attorney.

There is no law that says you must wait for the insurance company before contacting an attorney. Within days of the crash, the insurance company is going to want to record your statements, access your medical release forms and gather other facts and evidence in your case.

It's wise to safeguard your interests by having an attorney represent you as soon as possible. Without acting early, information an attorney might use to benefit your claim may be unavailable or lost by the time you seek help.

When looking for legal representation, look for a firm that guarantees that you will receive more money — even after fees are deducted — than any amount previously offered from an insurance adjuster or they waive collecting any fee.

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