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What you say after an accident can affect your case

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Sometimes insurance ads are made to be friendly and inviting. Other times they have a serious, protective tone. No matter the way insurance companies decide to market their products and services, their efforts might belie their attitude toward you when you need to make a claim. At the Law Offices of Mauro Fiore, Jr., we understand that the insurance business is, well, a business. That means, in part, we know insurance companies are interested in reducing payouts.

Of course, there is not anything wrong or immoral about profits or business but when faced with a decision between full and fair compensation, or something less, the customer is better served when he or she has an advocate who can interpret the terms and conditions of a policy and addendum in a favorable way, and who understands the potential impact of particular facts on the outcome of a case.

Often attorneys advise clients and prospective clients to avoid speaking to insurance companies before speaking with a lawyer. According to the California Evidence Code, an admission by a party opponent is “not inadmissible” in court when offered against that party. This means that what you say to an insurance adjuster or employee, who may be on the other side of a future lawsuit, can possibly be used against you in court. For example, as an insured you may use words that invoke legal consequences without intending to do so. Perhaps, an injured motorcyclist will say after an accident, “I am sorry this happened,” and not intend to claim responsibility for the accident.

This rule combined with the focus by insurance companies on profits and reducing costs helps explain why attorneys will often encourage injured persons to call a lawyer first. Such precautions protect clients because in contract law and interpretation, words always matter; and in litigation, words said by you to the insurance company may not work to your favor. More information about this topic can be found on our website.

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