Liability insurance carriers handle most personal injury claims related to traffic accidents, slip and falls, and other injuries caused by another party. To be sure, insurance companies are for-profit corporations. Therefore, the insurance company’s priority is protecting its profit margin.
Most people who file an insurance claim for an injury have no experience handling a personal injury claim. As a result, they often do not understand their legal rights regarding damages. In many cases, they are unsure what compensation they may be entitled to recover.
Insurance companies often take advantage of accident victims and injured persons. They exploit the fact that the person may be in pain, confused, and overwhelmed by the circumstances. They may offer a much lower settlement amount than the case is worth or even deny a valid injury claim.
Insurance Companies Will Try to Take Advantage of You
Do not be fooled by memorable slogans and cunning marketing campaigns. Insurance companies are not your friend. They do not treat you like family, and they do not have your best interest at heart in an injury claim.
The insurance adjuster’s job is to pay as little as possible to resolve your claim. Insurance companies have teams of highly-trained, skilled professionals protecting the company from liability for claims. Unfortunately, an accident victim does not have the training, resources, or knowledge these insurance professionals possess.
How Do Insurance Companies Take Advantage of Accident Victims?
There are numerous ways that insurance companies try to take advantage of injured persons.
Insurance tactics designed to get out of paying a fair settlement for your claim include:
Requesting Recorded or Written Statements
One of the most common insurance tactics is to request a written or recorded statement. Claims adjusters are trained to ask leading questions during interviews. These questions are designed to obtain specific responses that the insurer can use against you later in your case.
For example, if you say that the other car “came out of nowhere,” the insurance company may allege that you were distracted because you did not see an approaching car. They will claim you contributed to the accident, which lowers the value of your claim.
Claims adjusters are friendly. They may chat about their day and ask you about your day. Bear in mind, seemingly innocent comments to claims adjusters can hurt your case.
Asking You to Sign a Medical Records Release
The claims adjuster may tell you that they need your medical records to confirm your injuries. This statement is partially true. However, the insurance company is also looking for pre-existing conditions and prior injuries.
The company may try to claim that your injuries are not from the accident but were the result of a previous injury, accident, or health condition. It will then reduce the value of your claim or deny it.
Failing to Pay You for All Damages
The insurance company takes advantage of people who are not familiar with the types of damages they could receive for an injury claim. Most people understand that they can demand reimbursement for medical bills and lost income.
However, they may not know they can recover money for their diminished earning capacity, scarring, pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and travel expenses. There are many types of damages that you could recover for an injury claim.
However, the insurance company may only try to reimburse you for your economic damages.
Obtaining a Quick Settlement
The claims adjuster may offer you a quick settlement for your insurance claim. The company does not want you to realize the extent of your injuries. If it can get you to accept a low settlement offer now, it could save thousands of dollars.
It is never a good idea to settle an injury claim until you complete medical treatment. Your doctor cannot tell you whether you sustained a permanent impairment until you complete your treatment plan.
Getting You to Give Up Your Legal Rights
Settlement agreements prepared by insurance companies favor the company. These agreements contain language that releases the at-fault party, the insurance company, and all other parties from liability for your injuries and damages. It also releases these parties from all claims arising from the incident.
In other words, when you sign the settlement agreement, you give up the right to pursue any further actions related to your injury or the accident. Therefore, even if you discover additional injuries or claims, you cannot demand more money.
Telling You That You Do Not Need a Personal Injury Lawyer
The claims adjuster may tell you that hiring an attorney is just giving away money. The adjuster may say that you can do the same thing for yourself and keep all the money you receive for your claim.
The insurance company does not want claimants to hire a personal injury lawyer. However, lawyers understand personal injury laws and damages. They have the resources to investigate accidents, gather evidence, and fight for fair compensation of damages.
Dragging Out a Claim
The statute of limitations sets deadlines for filing personal injury lawsuits. You could lose the right to pursue a legal action for damages if you miss the filing deadline. Therefore, insurance companies may try to prolong your claim past the deadline and block your ability to file a lawsuit.
Do Not Let the Insurance Company Pay Less Money Than You Deserve
Most injury lawyers offer free consultations. It does not cost you anything to get legal advice about a claim, and you are not obligated to hire a lawyer after the appointment. Ensure you understand your legal rights after an injury to prevent the insurance company from taking advantage of you.
About the Author: Christopher J. Marzzacco is one of the founders of Marzzacco Niven & Associates. As a personal injury lawyer in Pennsylvania, Christopher has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America every year since 2017 in Personal Injury Litigation - Plaintiffs by his peers and “Super Lawyers” every year since 2017. If you need help with your personal injury claim, contact his law office for a free case evaluation today.