Insurance Companies Exploit Public Prejudice Against Motorcycles
Interviewer: If I was in that situation what sort of difficulties would you prepare me for? What are some things that are going to be difficult in a case like that?
Stephen Boutros: Well, Insurance companies are going to hire defense lawyers that will vigorously defend cases. Especially motorcycle cases, they try to take advantage of the prejudice that most of the public has, or a lot of the public has against motorcycle operators. To try to make it look like it’s the motorcycle’s fault, or the motorcycle operator’s fault, and I have to prepare my clients. When they know that that’s coming, and they’re prepared for that, and I’ve had the chance to think about it ahead of time, and prepare truthful accurate answers, then my clients are in a much better position. If you haven’t prepared your client for the attack that’s coming from the insurance defense lawyers then your case could be lost right there.
Interviewer: There are a lot of people that think that the insurance company would help them out with a situation, would be the ones handling all of this, and they would argue why they would need an attorney to assist them.
Insurance Companies Try to Settle Cases for as Little as Possible or
Nothing at All
Stephen Boutros: An insurance company makes every decision based on the bottom line. Insurance companies try to settle cases for as little as possible or nothing at all. An insurance company despite all their advertising slogans, “You’re in Good Hands,” “Like A Good Neighbor,” all the catchy advertising slogans they use insurance companies sole goal is to settle claims for as cheap as possible or nothing at all. They’re not trying to settle for a fair amount, they’re trying to low ball. That’s why you hire a lawyer who can properly build your case, defend your case, prosecute your case, and get you the maximum amount of damages that you deserve.
Interviewer: Let’s say I’ve been in a motorcycle accident, and an insurance company starts to call me, in fact asking me questions. What should I do? Should I comply, and be cooperative and answer their questions?
Stephen Boutros: Absolutely not. You should never speak to an insurance company, because the words that you use have legal meaning. They’re usually recording all those conversations, and things that you say that you think are innocent can be twisted and manipulated by insurance company adjusters, and insurance company defense attorneys. To be used against you in a way different than you had intended. That’s what insurance company adjusters do, they try to get you to believe that they’re on your side, that they’re going to help you, but really they’re trying to gut your case from the very beginning.
Speaking with the Insurance Company in the Absence of Your Attorney is Not Advisable
I always advise my clients to never speak to insurance companies, because those adjusters are trained to get you to say things that are going to be damaging to your case, and to say things that have legal meaning, and you’re completely unaware of it at the time. Sometimes insurance company adjusters will plant things into your head when the recording is off, and then turn on the recorder and get you to say things you had no intention of saying. They were just fed to you, and often those words have legal meanings that can gut your case.
Interviewer: They would probably record me saying something that they might use out of context or something like that, right?
Stephen Boutros: Exactly. Or, for example an insurance company adjuster could say something like, “I know that this was just a sudden stop, and that’s why we hit you.” You don’t really understand what does that mean sudden stop? Well sudden stop is an affirmative defense. A legal defense to a rear end accident, so they plant that into your head, and then they turn on the recorder and they say, “This was just a sudden stop right?” You say, “Yes, it was a sudden stop.” Well now you’ve just given them a way to defend your claim.
Interviewer: What would be an appropriate response to an Insurance adjustor? Can I get back to you?
Stephen Boutros: Hopefully you’ve done the smart thing. When you have a legal case you go get a legal expert, and that legal expert is called a lawyer okay? If you have a medical problem that is a real medical problem you’re going to go to a medical expert, and that’s called a doctor. When you have a legal problem you go to a lawyer, you hire a lawyer, and your lawyer will have instructed you not to talk to the insurance company, and you won’t ever get to that point where an adjuster’s in a position to take a statement from you and manipulate your words against you.