24 May Insurance Company Tactics
People do not realize this, but the moment you are involved in an auto accident, you become involved in a battle with insurance companies. The fight is between you and the insurance company.
Insurance companies make their money by not paying claims or by paying as little as possible. For every day the insurance company does not pay your claim, it can invest that money and earn interest for its own profit. Every penny the insurance company holds on to in claims increases its bottom line profitability at the end of the year.
Every auto accident case is a series of battles with the insurance company. Your attorney’s job is to win the war and secure the best possible settlement. The insurance company and its adjusters and attorneys have two goals: delay the settlement and make the settlement as small as possible.
Below are some of the insurance company tactics we commonly see in auto accident cases.
- Being Nice.
Insurance adjusters are trained to be very nice to injury victims who do not have attorneys. Studies show that accident victims who are treated in a kind and friendly manner are more likely to not hire an attorney. Studies also indicate that injury victims without attorneys settle their claims for much smaller amounts. So if you do not have an attorney, do not be surprised that your insurance adjuster calls frequently to ask about your medical treatment and injuries. Additionally, don’t be surprised if the adjuster seems to be very kind and deeply concerned about your welfare, but don’t be fooled to believe that they have your best interest in mind. During every conversation that you may have with an insurance adjuster, the adjuster will be taking notes and recording everything you say. The adjuster will use whatever you say against you at a later date. Remember, an insurance adjuster is not going to get promoted for paying you too much money.
- Requesting Information.
An insurance adjuster will have many excuses for not settling your case. One excuse is that their file is not “complete”. They will attempt to obtain every record, every bill, and every document concerning your case before they will evaluate it for settlement. Many times they want documents that have absolutely nothing to do with your injury, including old medical records from years ago. They are looking for information to deny your claim or reduce the amount of the settlement.
By not settling your claim and holding on to the money, an insurance company will earn interest on that money. So delay is advantageous and profitable to the insurance company. An insurance company will employ every possible tactic to stall settlement of your claim.
- Disputing Injuries.
The insurance company will contest and argue that there is fault in your medical treatment. Sometimes they will claim that you have received “too much” treatment for your injuries, or that the treatment was “unnecessary”. Many insurance companies use computer programs to “prove” that you over-treated or that you should have recovered more completely than you have. Conversely, if you do not pursue regular treatment, the insurance company will argue that your pattern of treatment proves that you were not seriously injured in the first place.
- Hiding Coverage.
Until a lawsuit is filed, many insurance companies refuse to disclose the amounts of their policies. If they finally reveal the amount of their policy, they may then neglect to disclose an excess policy or umbrella policy with additional coverage.
- False Defenses.
Because insurance companies make money from delay, they will use any excuse to postpone a fair settlement. Sometimes insurance companies will claim that the police report was wrong and that you caused the collision. The insurance company will claim that this is a valid defense and refuse to pay your claim.
- Prior History.
All insurance companies contribute to a data bank which keeps track of all claims filed in the United States. An insurance company can find out about all prior accidents and injuries you may have sustained in a prior accident. By withholding information about prior injuries from your doctor or your lawyer, you won’t prevent insurance companies from uncovering your previous claims. They will know the when and where you were injured, the type of injury and the settlement you received. An insurance company will wait for an accident victim to lie under oath about prior injuries and then confront them with the truth. Such a lie is far more damaging to your case than admitting the prior injuries honestly and upfront.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an auto accident and need experienced representation, contact Millward & Castle today for a consultation at 1-888-988-1088.