Common Tactics Used by Insurance Adjusters to Try to Devalue Your Claim
Following a serious accident due to the negligence of another party, you may have to deal with that party’s insurance company to get the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Unfortunately, that process may not extend as smoothly as you had hoped. Sometimes, insurance adjusters will use a variety of tactics to help reduce the funds they have to pay out following your injuries.
What can you expect when dealing with insurance adjusters? Having an experienced personal injury attorney on your side can make it easier to navigate those tactics and maximize your compensation after an accident.
Tactic #1: An Early Settlement Offer
One key tactic used by many insurance adjusters is an early settlement offer. Soon after your accident, you may get a call from the insurance company offering a settlement for your injuries. That settlement offer rarely reflects the full compensation you really deserve for your injuries. However, the insurance company may count on your lack of knowledge and the confusion and panic that often come after your accident to press you to accept a low settlement. Frequently, the insurance adjuster will try to convince you to accept a fast settlement, rather than taking the time to consider the full extent of your injuries and your financial losses after the accident.
If you do receive a low settlement offer, try to consult with an attorney before accepting, since an attorney can provide you with a much better idea of how much compensation you really deserve for your injuries.
Tactic #2: Looking for a Blanket Medical Release
Instead of having you submit medical records directly related to your accident, the insurance adjuster may try to get you to sign a blanket medical release. The blanket medical release will allow the insurance adjuster to see all your medical records, including records from any preexisting conditions or injuries. The insurance adjuster may try to claim that the injuries that really resulted from your accident occurred at another time, or that you suffered injuries after the initial accident.
Tactic #3: Trying to Shift Liability for the Accident
If the insurance company can prove that the party it covers did not cause your accident, it will not have to pay out for your injuries. Often, insurance companies will try to prove that someone else caused or even contributed to the accident to help alleviate some of the financial burden faced by the insurance company. The company may:
- Try to prove that an outside party caused your accident. For example, after a car accident, the insurance company may try to prove that a mechanical error caused the accident, which may mean that the manufacturer bears liability for your injuries.
- Try to prove that you caused the accident yourself. In a car accident, for example, the insurance company may try to prove that you ran a red light, drove while distracted, or ignored the rules of the road.
- Try to prove that you contributed to the accident. If you contributed to the accident, it may decrease the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
An attorney can help investigate your claim and give you a better idea of who caused or contributed to your accident. Your attorney’s investigation can also help turn up much-needed evidence that can help establish your right to a claim.
Tactic #4: Pushing You For a Statement
Before you talk to the other party’s insurance company after an accident, you should talk to an attorney. An attorney can help go over the information you should include in your statement and give you a better idea of how to handle any communications from the insurance company. The insurance company may use your initial statement to try to trip you up. They may look for:
Evidence that you caused or contributed to the accident.
In addition to considering whether you caused the accident based on the evidence you provide, the insurance company may record statements you make during the statement and use those to try to indicate liability. For example, if you note that the sun got in your eyes, making it hard for you to see the other driver, the insurance company may try to claim that you had adequate time to stop.
Evidence that your injuries cause fewer limitations than you initially claimed.
Your injuries can cause substantial limitations and difficulties in your life. Unfortunately, the insurance adjuster may try to prove that they limit you less than you actually claim based on evidence provided during your statement. Keep in mind that your statement begins as soon as the adjuster contacts you. You might make small talk during the initial moments of that conversation, discussing your overall health or activities you have planned. What you consider casual conversation, however, the insurance adjuster may use as evidence that your injuries do not limit you as much as you claimed or even that you have not suffered the injuries you claimed in the accident. An attorney can help prepare you for that conversation and give you a better idea of what statements you need to avoid.
Tactic #5: Bad Faith Tactics
In addition to the common tactics used by insurance companies to decrease liability or shift the burden of liability in the accident, some insurance companies may utilize bad faith tactics: deliberately delaying the investigation, failing to conduct the investigation at all, denying a claim without a reason, or even refusing to pay on a valid claim. If you experience any of these tactics, you should always connect with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible to ensure that you do not face further negative repercussions related to your claim.
Working with an experienced personal injury attorney from the early days of your claim can make it much easier to navigate any challenges the insurance company may put in front of you, including dealing with tactics commonly used to alleviate the company’s financial burden and the payment it must make to you. If you have suffered serious injuries in an accident, contact Gina Corena & Associates as soon after your accident as possible to set up a free consultation.