Tactics Insurance Companies Use to Diminish Your Claim
5 Ways an Insurer Will Try to Shortchange You
When you’re hurt in a motor vehicle accident or slip-and-fall, one of the first places you turn is your insurance company, so you can get the benefits you’re entitled to under your policy. Unfortunately, insurance companies are for-profit entities with a vested interest in paying you as little as possible—the less they pay out on claims, the more they can give to their shareholders. To protect yourself and ensure that you get full benefits from your insurance provider, it’s important to understand some of the tactics they’ll use to try to get you to take less. Here are five common ploys to watch out for:
- Acting concerned about your injuries — When an insurance adjuster asks how you’re doing, be aware that they are paying attention to everything you say. If you tell them you’re doing fine, or even say you’re “okay,” the adjuster may use that as evidence that your injuries are inconsequential. Furthermore, because many injuries are not obvious, you may truthfully say you feel fine, only to have complications arise after the insurance company has settled your claim. The best thing to tell an adjustor is that you have sought medical care and will let the doctors determine the full extent of your injuries.
- Telling you to give a recorded statement — You have a duty to cooperate with your insurer, but for any claim made through a no-fault auto insurance policy, there is no legal requirement that you provide a recorded statement. An adjustor who tells you otherwise is lying. A recorded statement can easily be twisted to minimize or deny coverage and can provide powerful evidence in court. Don’t ever agree to provide one.
- Quick settlement offer — Insurance adjustors handle hundreds or thousand of claims, and they know even small payouts can seem like a lot to hardworking people. Don’t be surprised if your insurance provider contacts you within days of an accident, offering an amount that’s more than you’ve ever seen at one time. It may not, however, come close to covering all your losses. The quick settlement offer is usually an attempt to cover up the full amount of your losses by dangling a carrot in front of you. Don’t chase it.
- Telling you that having a lawyer represent you will lower the net amount you receive — Insurance companies often represent that the contingency fee you pay a lawyer will take a big chunk of your payout and leave you with less than the insurer would pay if you don’t hire a lawyer. That’s because they know they end up paying substantially more to settle a claim when a lawyer is involved. Look at it this way—your insurance company has a vested interest in minimizing the value of your claim, and your attorney has a vested interest in maximizing that amount. Who do you want to trust?
- Endless delays — Often, as a result of an injury, you’re unable to work. Your insurer will know that and may intentionally delay payments, so that your situation becomes more dire, and you become more willing to take less. They may tell you the investigation is not complete, or they may ask for years’ worth of medical records. It’s all part of a strategy to wear you out and get you to take less.
Contact the Proven Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyers at Bailey & Galyen
At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we bring more than 30 years of experience to people hurt in any type of motor vehicle accident. To set up a free initial consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney, contact us by e-mail or call our offices at 844-402-2992 today. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.