If you have not yet spoken with a lawyer, you should not accept a cash settlement from the insurance company adjuster for your slip and fall accident. In fact, lawyers do not even recommend speaking with an insurance adjuster at all regarding a settlement before speaking with an attorney, who can deal with the adjusters for you. While you can choose to handle your case on your own without the assistance of a lawyer, you may find it allows you to focus on your health and recovery while also pursuing fair compensation.
Things to Remember about Insurance Adjusters
Despite the fact that insurance companies exist to benefit the victims in the event of an accident, they typically offer a quick settlement before accurately assessing your total losses. If you want to make sure you are pursuing fair compensation, including economic and non-economic damages, you may not want to accept an initial offer.
For example, you first need to see a doctor to determine the extent of your injuries. Only then will you be able to estimate the future costs associated with your injury. It could develop into a chronic condition that requires on-going treatment, for instance. You will want to make sure your compensation covers these costs.
They May Try to Blame You
Especially if they know that you have not spoken with a lawyer, insurance adjusters may try to use complicated explanations to convince you that you hold more fault for the accident than you really do. In other cases, they may simply assign you the blame with the assumption that without legal representation you will accept their conclusions as fact and take whatever cash settlement they offer you.
They May Hold Your Words Against You
Insurance adjusters often try to assign blame to you by having recorded conversations with you about the accident in an attempt to coax statements or admissions out of you that can classify as an admission of fault. Keep in mind that they can use anything you tell them at trial if your case reaches that point.
They May Use Sneaky Tactics to Avoid Providing You with Adequate Compensation
In California, courts use comparative negligence, under Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) §405, to determine the distribution of fault in slip and fall cases. While the property owner may hold full responsibility for the accident that caused your injury, some instances also involve partial fault of the victim. Even if the property owner has only 1% liability in your case, however, they still must provide you with 1% of the total award amount agreed upon during settlement proceedings or the trial.
Insurance adjusters often take advantage of this law to claim that you hold more responsibility for the accident than you actually do. They may try to exaggerate your role, use your words against you, or push you to agree to less than what you would have received had they determined liability fairly.
With an attorney on your side, you do not need to communicate directly with insurers. They can take care of all communications and negotiations for you.
A Lawyer Can Help You Fight Back Against the Insurance Company
Particularly in slip and fall cases in which the property owner holds all or the majority of the liability for your injury, their insurance company adjuster may use every trick in the book to try to displace fault or make you feel that you have no option but to accept what they offer you. It may even seem generous or convenient at first, especially during your difficult time, but you will likely discover that it does not adequately cover your damages.
At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, our lawyers understand the tactics insurance companies like to use to minimize settlement amounts, and we can help protect you from them by fighting for fair compensation in your case on your behalf. If you suffered an injury in a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property, do not accept a cash settlement from the insurance company adjuster. Contact us today at (800) 223-5115 to speak with our legal team about your free case evaluation.