Every state in the U.S. requires drivers to provide evidence of financial responsibility before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle. Most of the time, this proof of financial responsibility means proof of insurance coverage in the minimum amounts required by law. State lawmakers require this so that if an accident occurs and an at-fault driver injures or kills someone or damages their property, the victim can receive money for their accident-related expenses. It sounds relatively simple and straightforward, as it should be.
Tricks Insurance Companies Use
However, insurance companies like to complicate the matter. Why? Because while the very nature of their business is fairly paying car accident claims, doing so doesn’t serve their financial goals.
How Do Insurance Companies Make Money?
Just like any other business, they exist to make money. The more they spend on car accident claims, the less they have in their bank accounts. One of their solutions to this dilemma is to use tricks and tactics that entice car accident victims to settle for less than their claim is worth.
4 Most Common Tactics Insurance Companies Use
Anyone filing a car insurance claim after an accident, no matter how big or small, should be aware of these unfair and often unethical practices. They should also have an experienced car accident lawyer on their side who can help identify and eliminate these tactics. So how do insurance companies try to trick you? Here are four of their most common tactics:
- Swoop and Settle
- Recorded Statement
- Denying Your Claim
- Asking for Additional and Unrelated Medical Records
The Swoop and Settle
Do insurance companies want to settle quickly? Of course, they do, but not for the same reasons you do. You want to settle quickly to pay your bills, make up for lost wages, and move on with your life. They want to settle quickly so that car accident victims don’t have the chance to meet with an auto accident lawyer to learn what their case is really worth or before they have time to realize the full extent of their injuries.
They want to swoop in, sometimes within days of filing your claim, make you a quick offer, and have you accept. This way, you don’t know that the offer they presented you with was extremely low compared to what you could receive with a lawyer on your side. Once you accept and sign their offer, there’s usually no going back. Don’t accept any settlement offer from the insurance adjuster without speaking to a seasoned car accident attorney. It’s also important to note that you can counter-offer their settlement, but this is usually also best done with an attorney who knows the strengths and weaknesses of your claim.
The Recorded Statement
When the insurance adjuster calls to speak with you about the accident, they will typically ask your permission to record your statement and answers to their questions. They may make it seem like it’s a requirement or that they can’t process your claim without doing so. However, this isn’t true. You don’t have to agree to or provide a recorded statement. Instead, tell them you are going to discuss your case with an auto accident lawyer first.
By asking for a recorded statement, they can use what you say against you. They can also ask you leading questions, such as:
- “You didn’t see the car coming because you were looking down at your cell phone, right?”
- “You were driving home after a long night shift, right?”
Or they may even just twist what you say. It’s best to hire an auto accident attorney who will speak to the insurance adjuster on your behalf.
Delaying Your Claim
Another common car insurance company tactic is to simply delay your claim. You file your claim as soon as possible after the accident, and then it seems like nothing is happening. You call to check on the status of your claim, and the adjuster gives you the runaround or other excuses. It’s their hope that you get tired of waiting for them to process your claim, forget about it, and move on or simply agree to settle for less.
What To Do If the Insurance Company Is Stalling
When you have legal representation, the insurance company knows they can’t get away with these delays. Your attorney will ensure that there are no unnecessary delays.
Asking for Additional and Unrelated Medical Records
The insurance company has a right to see the medical bills and records for which you are asking reimbursement or compensation. They don’t automatically have the right to see your medical records for any dates preceding the car accident. If they get ahold of such information, they could try to use it against you. So, for example, if you sent them medical records from an old back injury, they might try to say your pain and symptoms now can’t be from the car accident you just experienced but rather because of your old back injury. They will use this trick to try to deny or decrease the value of your claim.
The insurance adjuster may also ask for additional records or information they already have just to delay your claim further.
In a Car Accident? Don’t Fall for Insurance Company Tricks, Hire an Experienced Attorney Instead
Anytime an insurance company can poke holes in your case and twist your words, they will do so. It benefits them to weaken your claim and get you to settle for less, or even to reject it outright.
With the help of a qualified motor vehicle accident attorney, you can avoid falling for insurance company tricks. Attorneys are committed to helping you obtain the monetary compensation you deserve for your injuries and damages.
Call 1-800-THE-LAW2 to get in touch with an experienced auto accident attorney who can help you secure compensation and battle the insurers. Consultation is free and confidential, so there’s no barrier to getting started!