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Negotiating with Insurance Companies: Pitfalls to Avoid in Thanksgiving Travel Injury Claims

As we approach the holiday season, many of us will be hitting the road to join loved ones for a traditional Thanksgiving feast. But with increased travel comes the potential for accidents and, unfortunately, the inevitable aftermath of negotiating with insurance companies. 

If you or a loved one is injured in an accident while traveling this Thanksgiving, the Oklahoma City personal injury lawyers at Parrish DeVaughn Injury Lawyers are here to provide a few pointers on what to watch out for when negotiating with insurance companies.

Insurance Companies are Required to Act in Good Faith

Negotiating with an insurance company can be difficult for the uninitiated, especially when dealing with injuries and mounting medical bills. The good news for those injured in Oklahoma is that, under Title 36 (Oklahoma Insurance Code), insurance companies are required by law to act in “good faith and fair dealing” with all claimants. 

The Oklahoma Department of Insurance also emphasizes transparency. Insurance companies must provide a clear explanation for any compensation denial or reduction.

What this means is that an insurance company cannot just deny your personal injury claim without reason, delay payments, or offer you significantly less than what is fair and just. However, remember, insurance companies are in the business of making money, and sometimes that can clash with what is fair for you.

Pitfalls to Avoid When Negotiating with Insurance Companies

First and foremost, understanding the pitfalls to avoid when negotiating with insurance companies is half the battle. Here are some things to be mindful of:

  • Undervaluing Your Claim: It is common for insurance adjusters to initially offer a lower settlement amount. They expect you to negotiate. Do not just accept the first offer. Compare it to your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages to ensure that the amount is sufficient to cover your losses and compensate for your pain and suffering and other noneconomic losses.

Case in point: In the case of Doe v. Big Insurance Co., the claimant accepted the first settlement offer without considering future medical treatments. The result? The claimant was left with huge bills and no recourse.

  • Giving Recorded Statements: The insurance adjuster might sound friendly over the phone, but always be cautious. Anything you say can be used against you to diminish your claim. It is always best to consult with an Oklahoma City personal injury lawyer before giving any statements to any representative of the liable insurance company.
  • Signing Without Understanding: Read every document you receive from the insurance company thoroughly. Sometimes, insurers include language that waives your right to sue or pursue further compensation later. If you are unsure about something, get legal advice before you sign.
  • Missing Deadlines: Oklahoma has a two-year statute of limitations that applies to most personal injury claims. If you wait too long to settle your claim or file a lawsuit, you might miss out on your chance for compensation altogether.
  • Not Keeping Records: Keep every receipt, bill, and record related to the accident and your injuries. Whether it be medical bills or a simple towing bill, every little piece can add up and should be considered in your claim.

Case in Point: In Smith v. Oklahoma Travel Insure Co. , the claimant missed out on a significant sum because she did not keep a record of her physiotherapy bills.

  • Not Understanding Your Rights Under the Law: Oklahoma follows the doctrine of “comparative negligence” in personal injury claims. This means that even if you are found partially at fault for an accident, you can still recover damages as long as your percentage of fault is not more than 50%, albeit at an amount reduced by your percentage of fault. The insurance company will be eager to shift some blame onto you to reduce their payout. Therefore, you should always consult with a lawyer before admitting any fault.
  • Not Consulting a Lawyer: A seasoned personal injury lawyer in Oklahoma City knows the local legal landscape and the tactics employed by insurance companies. They can guide you through the legal process and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, ensuring your rights are protected and you get fair compensation.

Negotiating with insurance companies is never a walk in the park, but with knowledge on their side, and by enlisting the assistance of a skilled personal injury lawyer, Oklahoma City residents (and those just visiting for the holiday) can avoid the pitfalls in Thanksgiving personal injury claims and ensure they get what they deserve. 

Contact an Oklahoma City Personal Injury Lawyer for Your Thanksgiving Travel Injury Claim

The holiday festivities tend to increase the risk of certain accidents like car accidents, pedestrian accidents, slip-and-fall injuries, and burn injuries. Negotiating with insurance companies after such an accident is not just about getting what you deserve; it is about ensuring that you do not have to pay the cost for someone else’s negligence. 

During this holiday season, be savvy, stay alert, and do not be afraid to ask for help when you need it. If you or a loved one suffers a Thanksgiving travel injury in Oklahoma City, do not hesitate to reach out to Parrish DeVaughn Injury Lawyers for a free consultation.