What should I know before signing documents from an insurance company?

Man holding out clipboard with paper to signInsurance adjusters are trained to deal with car accident victims in order to avoid having to pay large settlements. The premier tactic they use at the beginning of a collision injury claim is making you believe that you must sign consent forms and give a recorded statement.

This is not true.

Consent and Statement Policies

It’s important to know that after an accident you don’t have to sign anything or give a statement to anyone but the responding police officer, your attorney, and your own insurance adjuster. If you do decide to sign a consent form, you’ll give the defense’s insurance company the following:

  • The permission to acquire your private medical records (both past and present).
  • Evidence of prior injuries that could negate your current injury.
  • The power to question your doctors (both past and present) and gather information that could discredit your claim.
  • The consent to view medical history, including prescribed medications. Some insurance companies will use prescriptions as a way to discredit the validity of a claim. They'll suggest that you may not “remember” exactly what happened if you were on this drug, or you may be “confused” about the incident because you were on that drug.

Agreeing to give a recorded statement can further damage your claim by giving the adjuster the opportunity to use your words to discredit you.

Be Wary of These Statements

You don’t need to, nor should you, commit to signing or recording anything the other driver’s insurance company requests. However, sometimes it can be tough to recognize, let alone avoid, manipulation. When speaking to the insurance company, be wary of statements such as:

  • “It’s our policy.” An adjuster may claim that it is the company’s policy to get a recorded statement or signature of consent before investigating a claim. Although the adjuster was probably trained to say it is policy, this doesn’t mean that you’re required to give in to the request. When an adjuster brings “policy” into the conversation, respond by telling him that you’re uncomfortable providing any such information until you speak with your attorney.
  • “We need it to process your claim.” Again, this is a statement to provoke a reaction. Whether it be fear (they’ll deny the claim unless you do it), hope (if you give them what they want, they’ll give you what you need), or anxiety (what will they do if you don’t do it), the right reaction will work in their favor. However, an insurance company can’t refuse to process your claim—even if they could, you can simply refile after speaking with an attorney.
  • “Otherwise, we’ll close your claim.” This is an empty threat. It’s true that closing a claim is a mere click of a button, but so is opening a new one. Any type of threat from an insurance company should be taken with a grain of salt. No matter the threat, if you have a viable claim, they can’t ignore it—especially when you have an attorney familiar with insurance tactics backing you up.

Falling Into Their Trap

Make sure your family and friends are aware of the consequences of signing consent forms and giving recorded statements to insurance companies. Use your social media to share this page with them via Facebook, or tell them to contact us directly to discuss any potential questions or concerns they may have about a recent accident. Remember, they may not know their risks until it’s too late.

For more information on how you can quickly and reliably secure a dependable attorney, contact us today. I used to be an insurance adjuster, so I know how manipulative they can be—I also know how to fight back. Call today and I’ll be more than happy to discuss your case and provide you with the guidance and support you need to avoid being taken advantage of after an accident.

Download our free guide to managing a personal injury claim in Tennessee