4 Personal Behaviors That Can Affect Your Car Accident Settlement

Posted on: 15 September 2015

When a driver causes a serious accident, the insurance company is likely to offer a settlement to the injured persons. That settlement may seem unreasonably low. When an injured person attempts to get a better settlement, the insurance company typically stands its ground. This is only natural, since the insurer doesn't want to pay out more than it needs to. 

Often, the individual's behavior in his or her own personal life gives the insurer evidence that supports its case to stick with the low settlement. Learn ways you can prevent this from happening if you are pursuing a personal injury settlement. Some of these methods are particularly important if your case ever proceeds to trial, where an unpredictable panel of jurors will decide whether you are right or not. 

Be Honest With the Insurance Adjuster

Sometimes you'll need to talk with an insurance claims adjuster if you don't have a lawyer doing so for you. Be honest about your recovery progress and your current physical and mental abilities. It may seem unbelievable, but the insurer may have you under surveillance to some degree.

If you climb a ladder and clean out the gutters one day and then tell the insurer you're unable to do any work around the house, this will hurt your case if a private investigator is keeping an eye on you. You don't want to look like you're hiding relevant information.

You can explain this type of activity by noting that you do have good days now and then. That doesn't mean you have fully recovered and don't deserve a better settlement.

Fully explain any possible discrepancies that the insurer may learn about. For example, if you've told them someone else does your grocery shopping, for instance, explain why you did it yourself two times during the past month.

Be Cautious About What You Say

No matter who you talk with, be cautious about making remarks about the accident, your injury or the insurer. For example, you don't want anyone to construe that you're bragging about pursuing a big settlement or that you were not as seriously injured as you claim. In general, it's best not to say anything at all except to a person you're very close to, such as a spouse or parent. 

Stop Posting on Social Media

Until your case is settled, stop posting on social media sites. Even if your settings are private, an insurance company may figure out ways to see things you put there. If you still want to participate, do not post any comments or pictures that indicate you're in better physical condition than you claim to be.  

Go to All Your Medical Appointments

If you skip appointments with your doctor, physical therapist or other healthcare practitioner, that can work against you. The insurer may claim that you aren't all that seriously injured, that you're refusing to comply with treatment or that you don't care about recovering. This type of behavior also doesn't look good to a jury. 

Concluding Thoughts

Don't give up on a better settlement if you truly believe you deserve more. If you have avoided hiring a lawyer, go to sites hosted by lawyers to at least contact one for a free initial consultation. You'll learn whether you have a good case and how the contingent fee system works. This means you pay a percentage of your settlement instead of upfront fees.

Having an attorney provide legal representation can make a big difference in how an insurance company treats you. The insurers realize that lawyers know how much your case is worth and will not back down under intimidation or stalling strategies. After your free consultation, it should be clearer why hiring a lawyer is a smart idea.