Insurers are in Business to Make Money
Insurance companies are in business to make money. Depending on the insurance company, bonus or salary-incentive programs may be used to reward claims adjusters who save the company money by reducing claims payouts. In order to reduce claims payouts, insurance companies employ a number of tools and strategies. In motorcycle accidents where soft-tissue and head injuries are common, insurers often try to convince a motorcycle injury victim to accept a settlement offer as soon as possible after an accident.
Why? Simply put, it often takes weeks, if not months, for the full extent of soft-tissue, head, and neck injuries to be known. If an insurer can convince you to accept a settlement offer before the full extent of your injuries are known, they can save thousands of dollars in court costs and injury claims payouts.
What Should You Say if a Claims Adjuster Calls You?
A claims adjuster may sound empathetic, concerned enough after your motorcycle accident to “check in on you to see how you’re doing.” Don’t fall for it – in the vast majority of cases they’re trying to gain your confidence and make you comfortable enough to talk about your accident and answer their questions. These questions are not designed to clarify what happened in order to help you. Instead, these questions are more of a fishing expedition on their part: in talking to you, the claims adjuster is hoping you’ll say something the insurer can use to shift more – or all – of the blame for a motorcycle accident onto you, the injury victim.
Why is shifting blame onto the motorcycle rider important?
California is a pure comparative negligence state when it comes to recovering compensation in auto and motorcycle accident cases. Under the doctrine of pure comparative negligence, an injured person can recover damages for injuries sustained in an accident, regardless of whether or not they were at fault; however, their compensation will be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to them. For example, if you suffer $100,000 in losses but are found 80% at fault, you can only recover $20,000.
That’s why insurance companies want to talk to injured motorcyclists. They want to ask you questions to see if you say anything they can use later to shift more fault onto you, thereby reducing the amount in claims they have to pay you.
Contact San Francisco Bay Area Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
Once you hire an attorney, insurance companies and their lawyers have to leave you alone and talk to your lawyer. At Weber & Nierenberg, we understand how to handle insurance companies and protect injured bikers’ financial and legal rights and interests. If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact our office before speaking with a representative from an insurance company.