Tricks And Traps Insurance Companies Use To Minimize Your Recovery And Maximize Their Profits
If you’ve been involved in an accident, one of the most important things to remember is that the insurance company and its adjustors are not on your side. They are your adversaries and they have a single purpose: to maximize the insurance company’s profits by paying you as little as possible.
To achieve this objective, insurance companies use a number of strategies designed to win your confidence and convince you to accept a lower settlement than your claim is really worth. You may have already encountered some of them:
Pretending to be Your Friend
Many times, insurance adjustors will tell you that they are doing all they can to get you paid as much as possible as quickly as possible. They can be extremely friendly and may make follow up calls to “make sure you are doing alright” or to “see if there is anything else they can do.”
Don’t be fooled. Insurance adjustors are trained to establish a friendly relationship with injury victims. If they are successful, they are more likely to convince you to accept a settlement favorable to the insurance company.
Offering a Quick Settlement With a Full Release
Insurance adjustors frequently offer injury victims money on the spot in exchange for a full release of claims—before you have a chance to even see a doctor or can know the full extent of your injuries.
Don’t accept the offer. You cannot know what your claim is worth until you know exactly what your injuries are, whether you will need future medical care, or will have other needs associated with your injuries. It is best to consult with an attorney who can help you determine what your claim is worth.
Lying About How Much Insurance Coverage is Available to Pay Your Claim
To help convince you to accept a lower amount, insurance adjustors may falsely tell you that the at-fault party has only minimal coverage available to pay your claim. Don’t take the insurance adjustor’s word for it. Often, there is more coverage available than they will acknowledge. If you don’t know how much coverage is available, you cannot effectively negotiate a settlement.
Because insurance policies are legal documents and can be difficult to understand, you need an experienced lawyer to review every insurance policy that may provide coverage.
Saying that You Don’t Need a Lawyer
Insurance companies know that they are at an advantage when negotiating a settlement with an injury victim who is not represented by a lawyer. Because of this, an adjustor may tell you that you don’t need a lawyer and that you will be better off without one.
This is false. The insurance industry’s own research proves that injury victims obtain bigger settlements when represented by an experienced lawyer. Insurance companies are well aware of this and are eager to convince you not to hire one.
A frequently cited study by the Insurance Research Council (IRC), an organization of insurance companies, determined that on the average, when injury victims were represented by a lawyer, they received 3 1/2 times more than those who weren’t.
Seeking a Written or Recorded Statement from You
The at-fault party’s insurance company may ask you to provide a statement about the accident or your injuries. The statement may be recorded over the telephone or may be in writing.
Be warned. The only reason the insurance company wants a statement is to use it against you. The best thing you can do for your case is to not speak to the adjustor and find an experienced lawyer to deal with the insurance company for you.
Insurance companies know that injury victims are frequently in need of money. Often, this is compounded by substantial medical costs and lost wages because the victim has been unable to work due to injuries. Adjustors use this fact to their advantage by delaying the claim until the victim becomes desperate enough to accept a low settlement.
Denying the Need for Treatment
Insurance companies use computer software and standardized formulas to assign values to particular types of injuries. They do this for the same reason they use each of the tactics discussed in this article – to pay injury victims as little as possible.
The medical care you require now and in future should be determined by your doctor, based on his or her evaluation of you and your injury – not by charts and computer programs designed to produce low settlement va
Don’t Let an Insurance Company Take Advantage of You
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by another driver’s carelessness, you may be able to recover compensation for medical bills, property damage, lost income and pain and suffering. Give the Orsnge County based Law Offices of Corbett H. Williams a call today at 949-679-9909 for a free consultation. You can also contact us through the form below and we will respond promptly.