Insurance companies love to talk about how they are such great neighbors and how they’re always there for you. That is, until you need them to pay a claim, and then they become your adversary. The bottom line is that insurance companies make money by not paying out claims. In other words, the goal of the insurance company is to pay as little as possible without getting smacked with a bad faith insurance claim.
If you take one thing away from this article, understand this: The insurance adjuster is not your friend. This is the case whether we’re talking about the insurance adjuster for your insurance company or the insurance adjuster for the person or company that negligently caused your injuries. In this article, we’re going to be talking about how to deal with calls from an insurance adjuster after your slip and fall accident in Orlando.
After a Slip and Fall in Orlando, Should I Talk to An Insurance Adjuster?
If you have suffered an injury due to a slip and fall in Orlando, or anywhere else in Florida, the insurance company for the store, restaurant, Walmart, or property where you fell is likely to reach out to you. They will probably ask for a recorded statement. This recorded statement could hurt your case if you are not careful.
Giving a recorded statement to an insurance company can be dangerous. People often say things that can be taken out of context. They may accidentally say something that is inaccurate, or they may accidentally give an incomplete answer. The insurance company will almost certainly try to capitalize on anything you say that could hurt your case. The goal of the insurance company is to get you to say something it can use to minimize the value of your case and pay you less that what your case is worth.
In the aftermath of a slip and fall, people are often stressed and dealing with a lot of things they didn’t plan on. A slip and fall can turn a person’s life upside down. That person is in pain; he or she may need to get surgery; and he or she may need to miss a lot of days at work. During this nerve-wracking time, we recommend you don’t speak to an insurance adjuster because you’re vulnerable to the insurance company’s high-pressure tactics. There’s a reason they start calling when they do, and there’s a reason they pressure people to give a recorded statement.
We recommend that you speak to an attorney as soon as possible after your slip and fall accident. That way, you can have someone there to protect your claim and fight the insurance company on your behalf. Additionally, you’ll have someone there to help you avoid the insurance company’s high-pressure tactics. For example, the insurance company may try to pressure you to settle your case for $2,000 or $3,000 when your case may be worth $40,000 or $50,000 or more. Overall, an Orlando slip and fall attorney from our office will work to maximize your claim while you focus on your recovery.
Should I Sign Anything After an Orlando Slip and Fall Accident?
Insurance companies often try to get people to sign documents in the days immediately following a slip and fall accident. This is dangerous.
No matter what you sign, whether it’s a release, an authorization, or some other document, it’s critical that you know what you are signing. People regularly throw away thousands of dollars in case value because they sign something before they fully understand what they’re signing. This is tragic, and we want to help you avoid making these types of mistakes.
There are two different common types of documents insurance companies try to get people to sign immediately after a slip and fall accident. This is the same whether we’re talking about a premises liability accident, like a slip and fall or trip and fall, or a car accident, truck accident, or some other type of accident. These documents are the (1) Release of Claims and the (2) Authorization to Request Medical Records.
Release of Claims or Release of Liability
One of the most serious documents the insurance company may want you to sign is a release of claims, which is sometimes called a release of liability or a release. When you sign a release, you lose your right to seek compensation for your injuries. In other words, you sign away your right to pursue your injury claim. Therefore, we recommend you speak to an Orlando slip and fall attorney before you sign a release.
Once you and your attorney reach a settlement agreement, either through pre-suit negotiations, pre-suit mediation, or mediation, it makes sense that the insurance company would want you to sign a release. This is understandable. In return for the money they are offering, they want to be sure they don’t have to worry about a lawsuit. They give you money, and you sign a release. It’s a quid pro quo.
The more nefarious situation is where the insurance company gets an injured person to sign a release before the injured person has an attorney to protect them. For example, an insurance company may reach out to a person in the days after a slip and fall and offer that person $2,000 to sign a release. If that person does not have an attorney, he or she may not know what the case is worth or that a release is forever. Thus, they be tempted to take the check for $2,000 and sign the release, even though the case is worth $30,000, $50,000, or $100,000. Now, if that person needs surgery, they can’t go back and ask for money to pay medical bills because they already signed the release. In these types of situations, the insurance company gets out like a bandit, and it’s a tragic result for the unassuming victim.
Authorization to Request Medical Records
Another document the insurance company will likely try to get you to sign after you suffer injuries in a slip and fall accident is an authorization to request medical records, which some people may call a “medical release,” a “HIPAA release,” or a “HITECH form.” These authorizations typically allow the insurance company unfettered access to all your medical records. In other words, they may be able get any of your medical records that they want, regardless of whether the records are related to your slip and fall injuries or not.
Sometimes, these authorizations are simply too broad. The insurance company probably does not need access to all of your medical information and your medical history. Our preferred practice is to request your medical records for you, and then we decide what records are relevant to your injuries and what should be given to the insurance company. Then, we can give the insurance company everything needed to evaluate your claim without giving them full access to your entire medical history.
Contact an Orlando Slip and Fall Attorney for Your FREE Consultation
If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident in Orlando or anywhere in Florida, we can help you navigate dealing with the insurance adjusters. That’s what we do, and we can make sure your rights are protected, while you focus on healing from your injuries.
We offer free legal consultations to people injured in slip and fall accidents in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Additionally, when you schedule a consultation with our law firm, you will speak with an Orlando slip and fall lawyer during your consultation, not an intake person or customer service rep. We only take a fraction of the cases that come through our doors so that we can provide exclusive and personal service to our clients. Our clients get our cell phone, and they get access to an attorney throughout their case.
You can schedule your free legal consultation with an Orlando slip and fall attorney by calling our law firm at (321) 352-7588, or you can contact us on our website. We’re here when you need us.