Often insurance companies try to keep you from hiring an attorney. They even will take steps to try to get you to settle your claim for less than you deserve. Be aware of these tactics so you can protect yourself:
1. “Sign here”
Sometimes an insurance adjuster will contact you and offer you money and ask you to sign a form to accept that amount. Please know that the amount they present to you is never what your case is worth. Don’t sign that document, it may prevent you from receiving additional compensation for your case. Do not sign anything without contacting your attorney first.
2. “What is your side of the story?”
Do not be surprised if you are contacted by someone with the insurance company to describe what happened from your point-of-view. Do not give them a statement. Just don’t do it. There will be some sneaky questions in there that they have prepared that potentially harm your claim. Instead, if you receive a request to give a statement, simply decline until you are able to hire an attorney.
3. “Let’s be friends”
You should know that you need to make sure your Facebook, Google+, and MySpace pages need to be set to “friends only.” If your pages are public, insurance companies will look at your information, photos, etc. and use that information against your case. Also, do not accept any new “friends” that you do not know – insurance companies can create pages as people and try to friend you. To protect yourself and your case, do not accept a friend request from anyone that you do not know.
4. “Surveillance – Someone is Watching”
Do not be surprised if you are being videotaped or photographed by the insurance company. The insurance company is able to record anything that you do outside of your home. To protect yourself, do not do anything outside of your home that you do not want to be used against your claim. They will try to catch you performing physically demanding activities (such as home repairs, mechanical work, yard work, recreational sports) so avoid these activities. Pay careful attention to your environment during this time – if you feel you are under surveillance, write down all important information about the vehicle you believe is recording you including a description of the vehicle and a license plate number. Contact your attorney’s office with this information, and you may call your local police department with this information as well and alert them that you believe you are being followed.