1. I got in a car accident recently and the insurance company wants to send someone to my house to write me a check and settle my case. Should I accept the money?
It is the goal of every insurance adjuster to minimize claims payouts to increase the profits of their company. Adjusters can be rewarded by their employers for resolving claims quickly and for minimal to no compensation to the injured claimant. Therefore, the goal and purpose of an insurance company is in direct conflict with your best interests.
Some insurance companies will send an adjuster directly to your home with a check in hand very soon after your accident. They know you are at your most vulnerable at this time and they want to settle your claim before you can consult an attorney, or in some cases, even a doctor.
The state laws of Wisconsin and Illinois often give you a period of six months to a year within which to bring your claim. Thus, there is no reason to feel pressure to accept a quick or unreasonable settlement offer. Take your time, consult your doctor and seek the advice of an attorney at Clifford & Raihala before accepting any money, signing any documents or making any statements to the insurance company. Once you sign a release, your claim is over. If you change your mind, or your injuries worsen, the insurance company will not be responsible for any additional payment on your claim.
2. The insurance company wants me to give them a recorded statement. Should I do that?
Recorded statements are taken for the sole purpose of utilizing your own words against you at a later date. Even a seemingly innocent comment can be misconstrued and used to deny payment on your claim. Under no circumstance should you ever provide a recorded statement without first seeking the advice of an attorney. In most instances you will not need to provide a recording at all.
3. I fell and was hurt on someone else’s property. Do I have a claim?
In many instances you do. Premises liability cases are some of the most difficult cases to pursue. For this reason, the specifics of your injury should first be evaluated by a doctor and then carefully reviewed by an experienced lawyer at Clifford & Raihala.
Contrary to popular belief, a person who is injured on another’s property is not necessarily always entitled to compensation for his or her injuries. In Wisconsin, the compensability of premises accidents depends on fault. The mere fact that a person is injured in an accident while on the property of another does not entitle the victim to recover damages. The law requires more than that. The victim must prove that the injury occurred as a result of the causal negligence of the owner or occupier of the premises. The judge will look at the causal negligence of all parties compared to each other in order to determine compensation.