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How To Ruin A Good Personal Injury Claim

Sign documents and answer questions you don’t understand. That’s one of the best ways to ruin a good personal injury claim.

There have been a handful of times in the last month when I’ve been going through the file of an existing or potential client, and they have had some interaction with the insurance company before coming to me that has hurt their claim. The most insidious form of this is the “swoop and settle” tactic of insurance companies jumping in right after a wreck and paying a small sum in exchange for a release. While there might be some way in some cases to void the releases, signing such a release can often eliminate a claim.

The more subtle problem is to give the insurance company an authorization to get medical records or to give the insurance a recorded statement. Insurance companies can use both of these to hunt around for information that they’re not entitled to — information that can often be used to harm your case.

I am the first one to tell clients that they don’t need an attorney after every accident. In many cases, the injured party might be able to do better by resolving a claim without a lawyer. But certainly, an injured person ought to consult a lawyer before signing anything for the insurance company or giving an adjuster carte blanche access to a recorded statement. Make sure you’re not the one that gets taken advantage of.

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