1. The first time they call you the war on your claim has begun. The first attacks the are subtle: The adjuster tries to trick you into thinking he is your friend and is working for you. He calls you by your first name. They are extremely polite. He jokes about the weather, sports scores, your last vacation, your kids’ names, how “sorry he is this happened” (eye roll) and “how much [he] wants to help you.” (double eye roll). It’s not genuine though. It’s a cynical insurance company tactics created from focus groups, psychological studies, public polls and propaganda tactics which were honed over years of training and seminars. If you’re worried about dealing one on one with an insurance adjuster, you should be.
2. Recorded statements are not harmless: when they say we just want to get your recorded statement, you should say I have spoken with a lawyer. Otherwise, phase II of ruining your case has begun. In these recorded statements, there are several things they do: 1. They get you to say you’re “okay.” 2. Guess about how the crash happened. If you say “I don’t know” about the crash (because you hit her head), the insurance adjuster then comes up with an answer which makes his insured not at fault. 3. You may forget to tell the adjuster about an injury because a different one was hurting worse when you gave your statement (a pounding headache and you forget to say your foot is aching). The adjuster turns this around to make it look like you are lying: “Oh, [your name] are you claiming that you have new injuries? Why didn’t you tell me this When I first talk to you?” Feel guilty yet? One of the worst kinds of recorded statements is an examination under oath or “EUO”with an insurance lawyer and a court reporter. This tactic is designed to make you feel like a criminal committing fraud on the helpless insurance company. You feel like: You are on the witness stand everything you say is in sworn testimony because you are a liar. It’s pretty nerve-racking to be accused of insurance fraud. In 31 years of practice I have yet to have a client commit insurance fraud. Many, many of them have felt like criminals because of the insurance company’s recorded statement.
3. These adjusters are professional negotiators. They constantly train at the insurance company snake in the grasshow to make minimize your injuries. First, they try to get you to log into answers and use them against you. For example, an adjuster will open the recorded statement asking: “How are you doing now? “Are you okay now?” “Are you doing better?” Now, in normal social conversation you would respond to a friend asking you this: “I am doing pretty good/ I’m okay.” You don’t want to burden your friends with your troubles. However, If you say this to the adjuster, then later claim your actual injuries and describe how badly you feel, the adjuster will act surprised and say “When I talked to you right after the crash, you said that you were okay. I am confused” Or something even more diabolical: “Are you telling me the truth then or are you telling me the truth now?” This is a trick to make you feel bad for asking to be compensated for what was taken from you in the crash.
4. Insurance companies do not want you to talk to a lawyer. I can tell you after 31 years there is a difference in the amount of money an insurance company pays an injured person who has a lawyer versus someone who doesn’t have one. It’s stunning. Years ago, several companies figured out if they ran adjusters out to people’s houses within a day of the crash, they could get them to sign off on releases and pay $1500 on a $75,000 case. Once, State Farm neglected to tell its own insured that if she took the money from the other insurance company, State Farm would not have to pay her $150,000. Another time a young architect had a low back injury when he was run off the road by an eighteen wheeler. Liberty insurance company came to his house, and convinced him it was a 50-50 fault crash (when it was clearly not). Then the adjuster told him he “probably wouldn’t need any more medical treatment” and his company “will pay you $1,500 to sign this release and more if you need it later.” None of that was true. The 23-year-old man had a protrusion in his low back. His was a surgical injury.
5. The insurance company will use your doctor’s records against you. Yes, your own doctor. You’ve heard people complain: “Doctors don’t listen.” I am going to defend doctors and tell you they “selectively listen.” The problem is, they don’t write down all of your symptoms. This happens in almost every case: You see your doctor, say your complaints telling her everything and she writes down only your main complaints. These omitted symptoms are often significant injuries, like brain injuries or stabbing pain somewhere. These incomplete notes, unfortunately, become your permanent records. The next time you visit with your doctor and tell her all of your complaints again, she may write down you have “new complaints.” The insurance company management knows this problem with doctors and uses it against you. The adjuster says: “You said nothing about your head injury when you first saw your doctor. How do I know this wasn’t caused later?” Examples of this abound. I currently have a case where a young woman has a huge cut on her leg and an ugly deformity on her otherwise perfect upper leg.” It wasn’t written down at the walk-in center despite the fact she couldn’t “walk-in,” coming in on crutches she had borrowed, complained of pain in that area and was bleeding from the laceration. The insurance company is positive this is a new injury.
6. Pre-existing Injuries can get injured and you are entitled to repayment for those injuries. Just because you are over 30, have a bad back, neck, shoulder, arm or wrist doesn’t mean you can’t re-injure or make those same injured parts worse. Insurance adjustors are constantly taught to say: “We are not going to pay for anything our insured didn’t cause. Your [already injured body part] was already hurt.” To which I say “Good! We don’t want you to that wouldn’t be fair. We just want you to pay what the Florida Supreme Court says you have to pay for the aggravation of those injuries.” This is a real thing. In the Florida Supreme Court Standard Automobile Negligence complaint, these are real damages: aggravation of a pre-existing injury. (Florida Rule Civil Procedures Forms 1.945). That is what happened to you: Your back, shoulders, wrist, knee were all working pretty much pain free. Then this happened. Now, you’re in a sling, a wheelchair, taking pills, icing your parts that hurt taking it easy and leaving work early: Aggravations
And here’s the second part of this issue insurance companies don’t want you to know: The “glass skull” rule. Many years ago, a young man was sitting on the hood of a car in his high school in central Florida. He was healthy strong athletic and 17 years old. One of his friends started clowning around and taking swings at him. He hit him on the side of his skull breaking it and killing him. He had a “glass’s skull.” that is the same thing as a pre-existing injury. When you have a already injured body part, like a neck, low back, shoulder or knee, that is a “glass [neck, back, shoulder, or knee]”As far as that body part, you had a body part more susceptible to injury. It would be damaged more because it was already weakened by a pre-existing injury. If it were was an uninjured, normal, structurally intact body part there might not have been an injury. That was not the case with your body. This is an injury to an already a weakened body part. This is the “Glass Jaw” injury. This should not make the value of this injury less, it makes it more.
7. Telling the truth is always a good thing. It does not matter you may have done something which you are not proud of, you live in a trailer, you have filed bankruptcy you have HIV or had STD, you are too poor to pay medical bills or you had a criminal record. Humans have stuff happen during life. No, you may feel ashamed, embarrassed or mortified about some parts of your life but, everybody has a secret, even the regular people on a jury. Insurance adjusters know people may be embarrassed about things in their past and try to hide “things.” They don’t want you to know that you shouldn’t hide things. Why? if you hide it, and the adjuster finds out about it he will accuse you of hiding “things.” At trial, the insurance lawyer will ask: “What else is the plaintiff hiding?” It will make you look dishonest. Juries will punish people who are hiding their injuries. Juries will not fully repay people who have been injured . So, insurance companies want you to forget: “Honesty is the best policy,” but it really is the best way to go. A talented, experience trial lawyer can handle any imperfections in your past. So be honest with your trial lawyer. If he or she is like me, he can handle your supposed “flaws.”
Stop clicking now if you are injured and searching for an attorney.
I am a full-service personalized, personal injury lawyer with a statewide practice in all 67 counties. I have 31 years of experience to put to work for you. Call me so I can answer your questions: 1-800 – 535 – 3002. Email: JSteele@JSteelelaw.com Skype: ScienceCan Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JSteeleLaw/ Twitter: @JSteeleOlmstead or @FlaBicyleLawyr Whatsapp: J. Steele Olmstead Instagram: jsteeleolmstead.
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