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Posted in Car Accident on May 8, 2018
You pay your insurance premiums faithfully. You may have even been with the same insurer for years. When you get into a car accident, you have a reasonable expectation that they will pay your claim in full and within a reasonable time frame. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.
In reality, insurance companies want to pay as little on your claim as possible, often to maximize their profits. They use several tactics to deny your claim, stall, and pay less than you deserve. Here’s what you need to know about how insurance companies operate – and how you can protect yourself from them:
Claims adjusters often ask for recorded interviews, and this should be a red flag to a consumer. While it may see harmless enough, adjusters can use recorded statements to twist your words and even issue a claim denial. Something as simple as an apology, for example, can be tantamount to admitting fault. Decline any requests for recorded interviews and contact an attorney first.
Claims adjusters may bring reams of paperwork for you to sign. There is a temptation to just sign these highly complicated documents, but it’s essential to read everything thoroughly – and know what you’re signing. Broad medical releases are some of the worst offenders – while a claims adjuster might present this as a necessary step in the claims process, it’s more likely that they’re trying to tie your injuries to a pre-existing medical condition.
Claims adjusters will often request that their own company doctors examine you for injuries. However, this can be a trap. Always ask for an independent medical examination and contact an attorney before you agree to any insurance-provided testing.
In some instances, it’s obvious who is at-fault for an accident (in cases involving drunk drivers, for example). When this is the case, an insurance company may quickly try to present you with an offer and convince you to sign a release protecting them from additional claims.
These offers usually don’t represent the full extent of your injuries, damages, and other intangible losses. The only way to know for certain is to ask an experienced attorney.
One frustrating tactic claims adjusters use is avoiding contact. Others might keep “reassigning” your claim in order to delay your payout. This is a psychological tactic and an attempt to frustrate you into an accepting a lower settlement. Don’t fall for it. Be ready for any stalling and contact an attorney to help you throughout the process.
Many insurance companies will try to advise you to not use an attorney, claiming that the attorney will take a chunk of your settlement and that you should trust the insurer to treat you fairly. More often than not, this is an attempt to get to you accept an offer that’s lower than you deserve.
Insurance companies use a variety of tactics to bully their claimants into a settlement that’s less than fair. From psychological warfare to outright avoidance, your insurance company does not have your best interests at heart – only their own. The best way to protect your right to fair and full compensation is to contact an attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer can help you determine what your claim is worth and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf to achieve a fair settlement.