Common Insurance Company Tricks

Learn about the most-common underhanded tricks used by insurance companies and their claims adjusters to hurt your case or deny a valid claim.

Insurance companies use a number of unscrupulous tactics in order to deny a claim, reduce the potential value of a valid claim, or otherwise cause harm to your case.

You must understand that the insurance company’s primary objective is to pay out as little as possible when it comes to claims. The adjuster’s primary role is to either find a reason to deny a claim outright, or find some way to reduce the potential value of your claim (or reduce their liability).

Insurance companies know that this is a hectic and confusing time for you. Unfortunately, they use this to their advantage. The insurance company is not on your side when it comes to a personal injury claim; in fact, their goals are the exact opposite of yours. This is why personal injury attorneys exist—to advocate on behalf of you, the victim.

The moment you hire an attorney (and remember that a personal injury attorney will cost you nothing), you’re now insulated from the insurance company. Your attorney will do the hard work (proving up damages, determining liability, preventing/deflecting any stalling tactics, negotiating a fair settlement, investigating claims, securing evidence, etc) while you focus on recovering from your injuries.

Tricks commonly employed by insurance companies after a car accident.

Some of the more common tactics the insurance company will use include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following:

  1. The insurance company says they are accepting liability. They tell you to get medical treatment and that they will pay the bill. In reality, what happens is once you complete your course of treatment and submit the medical bills, the insurance company now says they will only cover a small fraction of your medical costs. By this time, it may be too late to hire a lawyer and you’re now facing serious debt. They realize you’re desperate for any financial help at this point, and with no leverage, you stand little chance at them budging.
  2. Sometimes they’ll attempt to make a quick settlement—they may even send someone to your home or the hospital (yes, they really do that) hoping you agree to sign away your right to sue in exchange for a small monetary settlement. They want you to agree to settle your claim while you are still uncertain about your financial future and before you discover the full extent of your injuries. If you settle early and later find out that your treatment is going to cost much more, there is nothing you can do.
  3. The insurance adjuster gives you an arbitrary deadline during which you must accept the settlement agreement. They do this to scare you into agreeing to a low-ball offer before you’ve even had a chance to calculate your losses. This deadline is completely arbitrary, and you should NEVER enter negotiations until AFTER you have completed medical treatment.
  4. They act very friendly, express concern, and claim that they are on your side (and that you don’t need a lawyer). Do not fall for this attempt at manipulation; these people are certainly NOT on your side by any stretch of the imagination.
  5. They attempt to blame your injury on a pre-existing condition or previous injury. They accomplish this by asking you to sign a general medical authorization that allows them access to any medical treatment you have ever undergone. Understand that you are under no obligation to release your medical records to the insurance company.
  6. They attempt to dispute the severity of your injuries. This will happen in every personal injury case. Expect it.
  7. They attempt to delay your claim in order to increase your aggravation. This tactic is used in an effort to break you down so that you will accept their small settlement offer. They know that the longer it takes to settle a claim, the more likely you are to accept less money. This tactic may also be used in an effort to push a claim past the two-year statute of limitations. Once the statute expires, you’re now legally barred from bringing a lawsuit and they will finally flat-out deny your claim.
  8. They may ask for a recorded or written statement. This is a tactic they may use to find something they can use against you. It could be something as simple as your response to the question, “How are you today?” The wrong answer could lead the insurance company to claim that your injuries are not serious.
  9. They make claims of having less coverage than is actually available. In many cases, the language is not easy to understand for anyone other than an experienced lawyer. For this reason, it is important to have an experienced lawyer review the coverage in order to determine what is actually available.
  10. They will deny liability (in total or part) by placing all or part of the blame on you, or by blaming a third party.

If you have been injured in an auto accident, remember that you don’t have to go at this yourself. Aligning yourself with an experienced law firm is the smartest thing you can do, and will give you (by far) the best chance at a successful settlement or trial verdict.

Insurance companies fight these claims on a daily basis. They have a massive advantage over you. In order to have a fair fight, you need an advocate. You need someone equally as familiar with the claims process to fight for your rights.

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