According to its own reports, the insurance industry in America rakes in over $1 trillion a year in net premiums. They are supposed to pay valid claims out of those premiums.
The business reality is that the less that insurers pay on claims, the more money they get to keep as profit. As a result, insurance companies have a significant financial incentive to try to lower the amount of compensation you receive when you get hurt. Every company is different, but overall, the industry uses a variety of tactics to achieve this goal.
The Danger of Written or Recorded Statements
If you have been in a car accident, you will probably get a phone call from the other driver’s insurance company. The claims adjuster will ask you to give a recorded or written statement to them.
Although they describe the statement as an opportunity to tell your side of the story, the claims adjusters use these writings or recordings to reduce to amount of money they have to pay you for your injuries. The insurers can take your words out of context or twist them into something you did not intend. Giving a written or recorded statement is not for your benefit – it is to the advantage of the insurance company.
You should not talk with the insurance company for the other driver without your personal injury lawyer being involved in the process. When the claims adjuster contacts you about giving a statement, tell him to talk to your lawyer.
When “Quick Money” Is Really a Rip-off
Sometimes the insurance company will make you feel as if you have won the lottery. They wave a check under your nose soon after an accident. Thousands of dollars of free money would come in handy right now, since you are not able to go back to work yet.
What they do not tell you is:
- You have to pay all of your medical bills out of that check.
- That is all the money you will ever get from them for this wreck, no matter what.
The insurer might try to reach a quick settlement with you even if you have not yet recuperated from your injuries. You do not know what the future will hold. You might end up missing more work and having massive medical bills with no way to pay them.
You could have long-term problems from the injury. In this situation, the settlement check is not fair compensation for your loss.
When you accept a settlement check from an insurance company, you have to sign papers. These documents release the insurance company and the person they insure from any future liability for your injuries. You can never go back to them and ask for more money. You should not settle with an insurance company until you have completed all of the medical treatment and achieved 100 percent recuperation from your injuries.
Missing the Deadline
After an injury, you try to work things out with the insurance company. The adjuster strings you along for months by negotiating back and forth and asking for more documents.
Just when you think that you are about to reach an agreement with the adjuster, she stops returning your phone calls. When you finally reach her, she says that the time for filing a lawsuit has passed, so they have no obligation to pay you anything for your injuries.
Defense Medical Experts
The insurance company wants to send you for an examination and evaluation by a physician of their choosing. This “expert” will contradict what your treating doctor says and claim that you are exaggerating your injuries for profit. The defense doctor will minimize your injuries and state that you should achieve full recuperation, despite your ongoing medical issues.
There are entire directories of people who do nothing but testify in lawsuits, and some of them only work for the insurance companies. If the insurance company tries to send you to someone for an evaluation or exam, tell them to contact your personal injury lawyer.
Try to Pin the Blame on You
The insurance company can try to slash the amount of money they have to pay by sticking you with some of the blame for the accident. The adjuster might even say that you owe money to the other driver. The insurer might tell you that both you and the other driver were at fault, so your damages offset each other and no one has to pay any money to anyone.
These tactics might be entirely false statements of the law and the facts of your case.
Once you get a lawyer on board, the insurance company will have to deal directly with your attorney. At S. Burke Law, we will protect your right to recover compensation.
Refusing to Negotiate in Good Faith
One of the tactics some insurance companies use is to deny your claims for damages and refuse to make a reasonable settlement offer. They do this to pressure you to accept a low-ball offer.
You are in a vulnerable position after an injury. You are dealing with the pain and inconvenience of being hurt. You might not be able to work for a while as you are recuperating. Your bills are piling up, and you do not have any way to pay them. The electric company is sending you past due notices, and your rent is late.
You are worried about getting evicted and wonder how you will pay for groceries. The late payments will lower your credit score, which will hurt your financial status for years. Even when you can work again, you will not get back-pay for the time that you missed, so the bills that those paychecks would have covered will sit unpaid.
Having a personal injury lawyer serving Georgia on your side will protect you if the insurance company uses tactics to try to reduce the amount that you collect for your damages. The team at S. Burke Law is here to help injured people get their lives back. Call us at 404-842-7838, to set up your free consultation.