Common Traps, Tricks, and Tactics of the Insurance Companies
At our Wichita Falls personal injury law firm, clients are often surprised to learn that insurance companies and their adjusters don’t always have your best interest in mind. Some of our clients are shocked to find out that insurance companies will deny a claim even when they know their insured is the one who caused the accident, while others have had some of these negative experiences before. Our clients who have dealt with adjusters always ask, “Why do they do that?”
To understand why this happens, it’s important to understand the motive behind these companies. Insurance companies are businesses, and they are in business of making money. And the insurance adjusters that work for these companies are trained to help make a profit for these companies. So, an insurance adjuster knows they can minimize or even deny some claims and if people are not fully aware of their rights, they will simply accept that decision and not fight the insurance company for anything more. Over time, these decisions add up to millions of dollars for the insurance companies. Now we are not saying all adjusters are bad people, but we have come across our fair share that utilize one or all of the tactics covered below.
If you choose to speak with the person who caused the accident’s adjuster on your own, they will utilize different tactics to minimize or deny your claim, and they will use different tactics, which are highlighted below, to get you to accept a low-ball offer before you talk with a lawyer. All these tactics show how important it is to seek legal representation with an experience Wichita Falls accident and injury lawyer before you settle an accident or injury claim, especially when it involves very serious injuries.
1. Acting like your friend
Insurance adjusters use this tactic to get your comfortable with them so you will offer up more information about your case and your life in general, that they will often twist and manipulate to use against you. Adjusters are nice and friendly at the start, but when it comes down to it, they are trying to save as much money as possible.
The insurance adjusters for the other party are not your friends and generally, they are more concerned about doing their job than they are for your injuries and recovery. Their goal is to pay as little as possible, and they will act friendly and portray that they care so you do not seek the legal advice you need and hire an attorney.
2. Requesting recorded statements and authorizations
It’s extremely important that you remember that anything you say to the insurance adjusters can and will be used against you. It’s smartest not to talk to them, but if you must, don’t offer up any information that isn’t on the accident report.
Likewise, adjusters will request for you to sign authorizations such as medical authorizations. This gives them the ability to dig deep into your medical background and history to find things they can use against you. While the adjuster does need to see medical records and bills as proof of your damages, they do not need the full extent of your medical history. They only need to see things that are relevant to the accident. That’s why we suggest that you collect your medical records yourself and provide them to the insurance adjuster rather than signing an authorization and allowing them to access them.
When handling a claim on your own, it’s best practice to not say much to the adjuster other than what is absolutely necessary. As stated above, when describing to them what happened, use the accident report. And when you are attempting to prove your damages, collect your medical records and bills yourself. To begin negotiating a settlement with the insurance company you can create a demand letter, which provides all this information in it and will kickstart negotiations.
3. Disputing your medical treatment and your medical bills
Insurance adjusters almost always claim the cost of your medical treatment is too expensive. Yes, everyone can agree that medical care is too costly, but that isn’t your fault. You didn’t choose to get injured, and you certainly didn’t choose to have through the roof medical bills. It was their insured that caused the accident, and it is them that should pay for the consequences of that accident; not you. That is exactly why people have insurance in the first place. Imagine for a moment the adjuster gets every one of the claims that he handles to accept 25% less than what their claim is actually worth. That adds up to quite a bit!
The insurance adjusters know that you may have missed (and may be still missing) work and that you have mounting bills piling up. The more they are able to delay paying you what your claim is worth, the more they pressure you to take a low-ball settlement because they know you need the money! They use this leverage against you to get you to accept their low-ball offers.
5. Hiding available insurance
Insurance companies sometimes aren’t fully transparent about how much insurance is really available to you. In certain situations, insurance coverages can be considered “stacked”, meaning there is more insurance available than you are aware of. And of course, if you knew there was more coverage available, you would fight harder for it. This is another tactic insurance companies use that you need to be aware of and cautious of when attempting to settle your claim on your own.
Contact Our Wichita Falls Personal Injury Lawyer
Do you still have questions about your accident and injury claim in Wichita Falls, or elsewhere in Texas or Oklahoma? To get more information, download a free copy of our book, The Traveler’s Guide to the Universe of Personal Injury. This book is filled with information to help you understand personal injury claims.
You can also contact our Wichita Falls personal injury law firm by calling 940-569-4000 or by filling out our contact form. We will give you a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation. Even if you do not hire us, we can give you some helpful advice on how to proceed with your claim.