So you’ve been injured in an accident caused by another party and are expecting adequate compensation, enough to cover all of the resulting damages, including medical expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering, etc. This is why insurance companies exist, to cover people like you in case of an incident, right?
Well, think again!
In an ideal world, accident victims would get the coverage they need without any hassle. But the reality is that insurance companies are businesses first and foremost. And as it is with all other businesses, their number one priority is profit.
The insurance adjuster who contacts you after the accident may act all friendly, ensuring you that they have your best interests in mind, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Their job is to protect and promote the interests of the company that pays them, which means their primary objective is to deny your claim!
The key to winning any battle is to know your enemy’s tactics thoroughly. Below are nine of the most common tactics insurance adjusters employ to diminish claims:
- Claiming to be on your side, and promising to get you a fair settlement. Remember, the insurance adjuster is not your friend! He or she works for the insurance company first and foremost, which means his or her interests are diametrically opposed to yours.
- Advising you not to get a lawyer. The adjuster may tell you that getting an attorney will only be a waste of money – don’t fall for it! Claimants who get experienced legal representation consistently walk away with a better deal than those who settle directly with the insurance company.
- Asking for general medical authorization. Your medical records as well as your psychiatric and psychological records can be used to disqualify your claim. Unless your attorney tells you to, do not sign any authorization granting the insurance company access to sensitive information.
- Offering a quick settlement with the signing of a full release. It may be tempting to settle your claim as soon as possible and get money fast. However, when you sign a full release and then find out later that your injuries were more serious than initially thought, you cannot recover for the full extent of your damages. Don’t risk it – remain patient and get professional legal assistance.
- Delaying payment of your claim. As you wait for your claim to be processed, the medical bills and other expenses may pile up, putting you in a state of financial distress. The insurance company knows this and will often delay the payment of your claim, hoping that you will eventually cave and settle. An attorney can help you weather the storm and stand firm in demanding what you are rightfully owed.
- Conducting surveillance. If you have a claim for a serious injury, always assume that you’re being watched. Chances are the insurance company has hired an investigator to monitor your actions and catch you doing something that would indicate that your injuries are less severe than you’ve claimed. Be aware of your actions and how they could reflect on your claim. Even when you’re being completely honest, a well-staged photo or video could create a false impression.
- Misrepresenting the amount of insurance coverage available to pay your claim. The adjuster may tell you that the responsible party carried only the minimum required liability insurance. Don’t take their word for it. More coverage may be available; however, you will need a knowledgeable attorney to help you sort through the dense legalese to determine all available coverage. Also, you may qualify for uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. Your attorney will know where to look and what to do.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by another party, contact an experienced car accident lawyer who is thoroughly familiar with the way insurance companies work and can give you the best possible chance at an optimal case outcome.
About the Author:
Bobby Saadian, Esq. is the Founding President and Managing Attorney at Wilshire Law Firm. Known as the “People’s Lawyer,” he primarily handles major accident and catastrophic injury cases of many varieties, including car accidents, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, pedestrian accidents, and wrongful death.