Common Practices Used by Insurance Companies to Avoid Paying Claims
Simply put, insurance companies are in the business of making money. They collect high premiums, avoid paying fair value for valid claims, and spend millions of dollars lobbying to limit personal injury claims and to convince the public that personal injury lawsuits are frivolous. Our attorneys are familiar with the practices and tricks insurance adjusters use to convince you to accept less than what you deserve for your injuries and, in many cases, that your claim is worth nothing at all. Below is a list of common practices and tricks used by insurance adjusters:
Instruct you not to speak with an attorney.
Of course, the adjuster doesn’t want you to speak to an attorney because doing so will likely open your eyes to what your claim is worth. The adjuster wants to control the situation without any interference from an attorney trained to evaluate your claim and negotiate on your behalf. Don’t let the adjuster bully you. Speak with an attorney as soon as possible after your injury so your rights can be protected.
The adjuster will likely make the claim process as slow and painful as possible to make you more willing to accept a low settlement offer. Adjusters are even more likely to employ stall tactics if they know you are experiencing financial problems. If they can drag out the claim process for a long time, they know you’ll be happy to receive whatever money they offer. An attorney can help speed up the process and force the adjuster to resolve the claim as quickly as possible.
Insurance adjusters are not above hiring an investigator to research your background, videotape your activities, view your internet profiles, and interview your neighbors and family.
Request unnecessary information.
Insurance adjusters will demand irrelevant records and request that you provide a recorded statement before they pay your claim. This is another stall tactic. When requesting frivolous information such as this, adjusters simply waste time, making you more willing to settle for a low amount. They already know what your claim is worth without reviewing unnecessary documents.
Although adjusters will freely request information from you, they become very uncooperative when you request information from them. They never voluntarily produce documents and information obtained from third parties concerning you and your claim.
Pretend to have medical expertise.
Many insurance adjusters will pretend to have the medical expertise to evaluate your injuries’ severity and the claim’s value. The vast majority of adjusters have no medical experience and are not attorneys. They are simply trying to pay you as little as possible by minimizing your injuries and your claim.
Dealing with Your Insurance Company after an Accident
Dealing with your insurance company after an accident is a potentially tricky situation. Typically, your insurance policy requires you to notify your insurance company of an accident within a certain time. Whether you caused the accident or not, the insurance company has a right to investigate the background facts of an accident in which its policyholder was involved.
As part of the investigation, the insurance adjuster might ask you if he/she has your permission to record your telephone conversation (typically in a question-and-answer format). Having worked for insurance companies for several years, the attorneys at our firm are suspicious of insurance companies-whether they represent you or the other driver.
Remember, the primary goal of insurance claims adjusters is to make their company money. They are not in the business of paying settlements for injury and property damage claims. With this understanding, we believe it is always preferable to speak with an attorney before giving a recorded statement to your insurance company. However, you must act relatively quickly and promptly respond to your insurance company’s request for a recorded statement. Under most policies, a failure to provide timely information could render your policy voidable.
Dealing with the Other Driver’s Insurance Company after an Accident
Other attorneys work at law firms that defend negligent drivers and their insurance companies. When the complaining party provided a written statement in each case, it was always helpful to the insurance company’s case and never the insured’s case. So, in short, never give an oral statement to the other driver’s insurance company. It will never be helpful to your case.
You should also know that insurance companies and their claims adjusters are in business to make money. They are not in the business of paying out your claim after their insured wrecked your vehicle and caused you injuries. Therefore, insurance companies will pay as little as possible to settle your injury and property damage claims. To that end, insurance companies hire claims adjusters trained and experienced in negotiating settlements in the insurance company’s best interests, NOT yours. They will try asking you questions and securing answers to help their case while hurting yours.
Many claims adjusters will discourage you from speaking to an attorney or seeking medical attention. Listen to their questions carefully, and don’t try to outsmart them. We recommend politely saying, “I am not prepared to discuss this matter with you at this time, and I will contact you when I am ready.”
What You Should Do After an Automobile Accident
First and foremost, if you have been involved in an accident and you or a passenger have been seriously injured, you must seek medical attention immediately. It is common for injuries to surface or worsen a few days to several weeks after an accident.
You should always call the police so they can investigate the accident. Police officers are trained to secure information that will be very helpful to you later. They will ensure that the other driver cooperates in providing essential information for your case.
Finally, while you are still at the accident scene, it is important to record as much information as possible about the accident while everything is still fresh in your mind. For example, secure the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all drivers and passengers involved in the accident and all witnesses. It is also important to write down the following:
- the location of the accident
- how the accident occurred
- the weather conditions at the time of the accident
- whether the other driver was speeding, drunk or inattentive
- whether there was something wrong with his/her vehicle
- whether it was a company vehicle
- whether any vehicles were towed from the scene
- whether medical assistance was provided at the scene
- the police officer’s name and contact information
- whether citations were issued
If you have a camera phone, taking photos of the accident scene and vehicle damage is smart. Do not leave the scene without securing contact information for the other driver, including insurance information, license plate number, driver’s license number, and the make and model of the other vehicle.
Is It Too Late to Hire an Attorney?
If you have been injured in a car accident, it is essential to seek the help of a qualified attorney as soon as possible. Even in cases where the insurance company has denied your claim, an experienced car accident lawyer can provide valuable guidance and insight into the complexities of the legal process. After all, navigating the insurance claims process can often be arduous and convoluted. Without the help of a knowledgeable attorney, you may be missing out on important benefits that could otherwise prove invaluable.
Fortunately, our attorneys, available 24/7/365, are ready and willing to hear your story and provide professional advice. Don’t wait any longer to get the help you deserve and the justice you need. Contact an experienced car accident injury attorney at 214-957-0898 and take the first step toward obtaining the compensation you deserve.
- Common Practices Used by Insurance Companies to Avoid Paying Claims
- Dealing with Your Insurance Company after an Accident
- Dealing with the Other Driver’s Insurance Company after an Accident
- What You Should Do After an Automobile Accident
- Is It Too Late to Hire an Attorney?