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A CAR HIT ME IN AN INTERSECTION WHAT I LEARNED
I ’m a pretty avid runner, so there was nothing unusual during the morning of December 11 when a friend and I were cruising down a sidewalk in Austin at the end of a relaxed morning run. As we were crossing an intersection, we took all our usual precautions: made sure we had the light to cross, made sure no cars were coming, and stayed in the crosswalk. These are things we’ve both done thousands of times before. So when an SUV came speeding out of nowhere, we were shocked and had little time to react. The SUV turned left through a yield signal and slammed right into us in the crosswalk. We hit the hood of the car, then fell to the ground when the driver finally came to a stop. By some miracle, the two of us only suffered a couple scrapes and bruises. We were also fortunate that the driver stayed at the scene and called 911 to get the police and emergency medical services there. While we were both a little shaken, my friend and I were in good shape and didn’t feel that going to a hospital was necessary. We walked back to our cars and saw a doctor later, just to be safe. Of course, next came the hard part: dealing with the insurance . The day after we were hit, my friend and I were contacted by the driver’s insurance company to see if we would press a claim. Wanting reimbursement for our doctor’s visits, we, of course, said yes. Then the adjuster pressed me to give a recorded statement. So, I did what we always tell our clients to do: I refused.
Since this wasn’t my own insurance company, I knew that I had no obligation to give a statement on the spot. Why would I want to give the adjuster a chance to ask me deceptive questions that might hurt my claim in the end? The adjuster bugged me repeatedly about the recorded statement over the next week. Finally, after my third or fourth refusal, the adjuster called to tell me they were denying my claim on the basis that it was somewhat dark outside that morning, and that I was “not wearing enough reflective clothing.” So, that’s when things got serious. Since I’ve worked with countless car wreck claims before, this move was not unexpected, but I didn’t hesitate at all to call the adjuster back. I left a voicemail asking for her email address so I could send over a couple items: the witness statement of another driver who saw the whole thing and the recording of the 911 call between the driver who hit us and the
emergency dispatch. Since I had not hired an attorney, I also planned on calling the driver myself later that evening to get him to admit that we were in the crosswalk with the right of way and that he had a yield sign — and yes, this would all be recorded so that I could send it to the adjuster. Not even 30 seconds later, the adjuster called me back and offered me twice my medical bills, plus $1,000 for the inconvenience. I considered this their first offer (which is never their last offer), and over the next couple weeks, I negotiated this number upward until I was satisfied and settled the case. The point is this: Arm yourself with as much documentation as possible. By taking the no-nonsense approach and overwhelming the adjuster with documentation to back my story up, I turned the whole situation around in mere seconds.
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