When you or your loved one is involved in a road accident as a pedestrian, you have to deal with several time-consuming activities, including seeking compensation for your injuries and damages to property. Sometimes, the settlement process may be straightforward, when the negligent driver accepts fault and has sufficient insurance coverage to reimburse you.
However, most cases involve lengthy discussions with insurance adjusters appointed to represent the driver at fault. As a result, you need to understand how to deal with the insurance adjuster or company representative presiding over your compensatory case. Also, you should acquaint yourself with the possible strategies that the insurance representative may use on you.
While you may decide to work without the assistance of a personal injury lawyer, engaging an insurance company is significantly easier with an attorney’s help. Your attorney could help you gather all the necessary details, documents, and testimonies you need to counter the insurance adjuster’s arguments. Moreover, with a skilled and experienced attorney, you will know all requirements you must meet during the insurance agent discussions.
We at Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney have worked with many clients seeking compensation for injuries incurred in Los Angeles accidents, California. Thanks to our well-trained team, you can count on us to offer legal guidance and representation in personal injury compensatory matters.
The Nature and Cause of Pedestrian Accidents
The first step in determining how to deal with a driver at fault’s insurance company involved understanding the possible causes of your incident, as well as the nature of the collision. The information you obtain will help you determine and establish the parties at fault, meaning that you will have an easier time presenting your claims backed by valid evidential sources.
Often, pedestrian accidents occur from motorists’ carelessness or negligence on the road, whereby a car driver fails to observe necessary traffic regulations. As a result, the collisions may occur abruptly, creating low to high impact accidents that may affect you or your loved ones. Some common causes of pedestrian accidents in Los Angeles include:
Driving Under the Influence
Drunk driving is among the leading causes of numerous accidents on the road, including pedestrian collisions. When a car driver is under the influence, he/she will inevitably have diminished vision and auto-responses to any oncoming obstacles. If you happen to be in the way of a drunk driver, you could become a victim of a severe car accident that causes irreversible damages.
Using High Speeds
Similarly, high speeds are dangerous on busy highways where you and other pedestrians are walking along the roadsides. The risk of speeding motorists becomes more apparent when a driver loses control of the vehicle, especially if he/she tries to apply brakes at the last minute.
Additionally, speed has caused severe collisions where multiple crashes arose from one of the motorist’s uses of excessive speeds. Consequently, the multipole crashes may lead to a domino effect that causes cars to collide and affect pedestrians’ sidewalks. In these cases, determining fault may be more difficult, as the multiple accident victims will have different claims and records of events as they remember them.
Ignoring Traffic Signs
Additionally, when a motorist injures traffic signs and lights, he/she exposes the passengers to danger and increases the chances of pedestrian collisions. The main reason for higher danger levels is from the alternating traffic lights sequence that pedestrians and motorists in respective times.
Should a car driver ignore the traffic lights, pedestrian accidents may be inevitable, creating catastrophic incidents that involve you and other pedestrians along the way. We recommend you meet with your injury lawyer before meeting with an insurance adjuster, as he/she will help with analyzing the essential details of your case. For example, suppose you present information relating to the motorist’s conduct moments before the collision. In that case, your lawyer can pick up on pointers that help impose fault and liability on the motorist.
Other times, pedestrian accidents may arise from car defects that affect their proper functionality while on the road. Commonly, brake failures have created risky situations that resulted in pedestrian accidents, as the driver failed to control the car on time. Subsequently, the impact of these collisions may be catastrophic.
Additionally, car defects may also arise from inadequate maintenance schedules. Thus, if the vehicle owner failed to service the car, the engine may stall or cause additional problems at busy road intersections. The result will, therefore, include serious accidents that involve pedestrians and other road users.
Numerous distractions play a role in reducing a motorist’s attention while on the road, specifically when moving on a busy highway. Since different distractors affect the motorist in varying ways, it is necessary for you as the accident victim to recognize the possible arguments to present when dealing with an insurance adjuster. For example, by getting proof to show that the driver at fault was using his/her phone moments before the accident, you will have adequate backing in presenting your claims.
Discussion Strategies Commonly Applied by Insurance Companies
After a negligent motorist hits you while walking, you need your injury lawyer to schedule meetings with the relevant insurance representative handling your claims. Before meeting with the insurance adjuster, it is necessary to acquaint yourself with the different types of insurance covers that you will attempt to make claims from.
Usually, a motorist should have an active uninsured or underinsured motorist (UIM) cover while on the road in case of incidents that require him/her to take responsibility. The UIM coverage is beneficial for you as well, as you may receive partial compensation for the injuries and damages depending on the liability/fault that the accident details reveal.
Despite the opportunity to engage with an insurance representative for compensatory negotiations, you need to remember that the company will do its best to provide the least possible compensation.
The representatives use the tactics and argument strategies to target any inadequate experience and knowledge you disclose, especially without an attorney to support you. Thus, learning to anticipate the tactics saves you from the tricky nature of discussions. If the meetings are successful, you will stand a better chance of receiving your end of the bargain as desired. Common insurance company strategies include:
Requesting for Your Recorded Statements
After an accident, you will meet with various personnel, including traffic officers whose work involves taking official records concerning the accident. The statements will include all details as you perceived them moments before the accident. Additionally, they should also disclose any action you undertook immediately after the accident, if you did not suffer a severe collision that left you unconscious.
When requesting copies of police statements, the insurance company may justify the move by analyzing them to compensate you. However, cases that involve the misuse of your records to the insurance company’s advantage exist. In these incidents, the insurance representative may choose to highlight a single event from the overall occurrence and attempt to use it in proving negligence.
The best way to avoid the misuse of your record statements is to go over the relevant documents with your injury attorney. When you perform due diligence and pick out details that would otherwise work out for the insurance company’s advantage, the risk of missing out on adequate compensation reduces significantly. You may also choose to have your lawyer present during the physical meetings where negotiations and settlement offers are discussed.
Strategies to Shift Blame from the Motorist
Attempts to shift the motorist’s blame to you as the pedestrian is also standard with insurance companies. Their primary goal includes extending liability to you only to receive a percentage of your intended compensation. Hence, everyday strategies to expect from the insurance representative include the imposition of contributory negligence on your side based on any actions you involved yourself in before the accident.
For example, the insurance adjuster may provide details on the position you crossed the road from and whether you were attentive to the traffic lights before joining the crosswalk. Please keep in mind that some of the allegations you face related to negligence form part of the average pedestrian’s regular activities.
However, since the insurance company is determined to reduce compensation, your actions may fall within a more stringent type of scrutiny. Despite this, your injury lawyer can help counter the insurance company’s arguments by questioning the relevance of specific claims in question.
For example, if you walk into the crosswalk upon assuming that the driver would give way, you will not have necessarily acted negligently. This is because the motorist should give you right of way. With similar defenses to present, you will retain your chance to seek adequate compensation, primarily because the insurance company eventually lacks plausible methods to shift the blame.
During the negotiations or discussions with the representative, do not admit to fault, despite evidence that points some blame to your side. Upon conceding and siding with the insurance adjuster on some details, you will likely waive your rights to seek compensation, even after new case developments occur.
Disputing the Seriousness of Your Injury
When you present credible proof that places all the blame on the car driver, the insurance company will attempt to change argument strategies. Therefore, the severity of your injuries may become an issue for determination, as the representative aims to reduce your claims.
While the move is an apparent diversion that may affect the amount you receive from the insurance company, the adjusters will work under strict guidelines to bring up details related to your injuries. Hence, you will need to stay ready for any attempts to include misguided arguments to your disadvantage that an insurance representative may include.
Most discussions with insurance company representatives include the downplaying of injuries, where the adjuster may call it a low impact accident with minor effects to you and other affected pedestrians. However, the diminished nature of the description should not deter you from seeking a full payment based on the damages suffered.
Consequently, you need to gather useful proof sources to show that you undertake intensive medical examinations to classify your injuries as severe. For example, suppose you obtained a deep tissue cut that will take a long time to recover. In that case, the doctors’ reports should indicate all the necessary steps you will undertake to emphasize the injury’s severity further.
Moreover, the insurance adjuster handling your case may choose to diminish the nature of your accident by claiming that the car driver hit you when moving at a relatively low speed. When discussing the intensity of impact, the standard argument will depend on your physical state during the insurance meeting.
For instance, if you can move without the support of a wheelchair or crutches, the insurance adjuster may point out your mobility as a justification for his/her claims of a low impact accident. However, these pointers should not have any right, the standard argument when standing, primarily because you may be waiting for other medical results to unveil the true nature of the personal injuries you suffered.
Also, the lack of protection before the impact should not be a point of reference in determining whether you suffered a high or low impact accident because sometimes the driver may have engaged in high speeds. Hence, your injury lawyer should be present to help you avert the strategies that insurance companies impose on claimants.
Delaying Your Compensatory Payments
Even after making a valid claim and providing relevant documentation to support your injuries’ nature and cause, some insurance companies are reluctant to release the monetary compensation they owe. In these situations, the company will use the delay strategy, hoping to minimize costs.
For example, suppose you need immediate medical attention that would require payments from the insurance. In that case, they will delay in releasing the money, hoping that you will use your funds instead.
In doing so, they may later offer you reimbursement for the amounts you already spent. Despite the fair nature of this discussion, you need to understand that the repayments are likely to be less than the amount you would have received initially. As a result, you will be in a better position to recover damages by insisting on upfront payments.
The delay strategy also aims to reduce your demands over time, especially if you have waited for long durations without a settlement. For most people, receiving a subsidized amount of the total compensatory fee becomes the next best option as they seek to complete the settlement agreement.
Your injury guidance will support you during the wait, as you will be ready for the delays. Additionally, your attorney plays a significant role in countering the pressure that an insurance company imposes on you as time goes by. As a result, you do not have to worry about conceding to lower amounts than you applied for.
Disputing the Party at Fault
Suppose the insurance company further disputes the party at fault in your case. In that case, you will have to rely on several legal proponents to validate your arguments and find the driver involved in your accident liable. The main element to rely on is proving fault in negligence, whereby the driver’s careless actions will be under scrutiny. When you satisfy the four main components required in any negligence claim, the insurance representative may find it challenging to divert the argument and evade compensatory responsibility.
In negligence, your injury lawyer will focus on showing that:
- The driver involved in the accident owed you a duty of care while on the road.
- A breach of duty occurred.
- The leading cause of your injuries is from the driver’s breach.
- You suffered significant damages from the driver’s negligence.
Since cases vary based on your accident circumstances, we recommend holding discussions with your lawyer to determine the best strategy for use during the insurance meeting.
Overall, dealing with insurance companies may yield the full compensatory amount you need after involvement in a pedestrian accident. Nevertheless, it is essential to understand what you need to look out for in preparation for the discussions you will hold. The support that you receive from a personal injury lawyer is also essential, as you will have a point of reference in case of any new encounters.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
After being involved in a pedestrian accident, you or your loved ones may suffer significant harm and damage to property. You deserve compensation for the hardships you face, including monetary payments to cater for medical costs and other expenses. However, dealing with the at fault driver’s insurance could be difficult. The insurance adjusters aim at awarding you the least possible compensation. The process leading to the reception of compensation will be more straightforward for you, with a personal injury attorney to guide you through the mandatory processes.
When looking for a reliable lawyer to work with, hire one conversant with different laws surrounding pedestrian accidents. Your attorney should have a wealth of experience in receiving compensation from insurers. At the Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney, we dedicate ourselves to providing exceptional legal services to victims of pedestrian accidents. To contact us, give us a call today at 424-231-2013.