Dealing with personal injuries can become a complex and convoluted process, especially when an insurance company is involved. After an accident or injury caused by someone else’s negligence, it’s common to rely on the insurance payout to handle medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages.
However, most insurance companies are primarily interested in their bottom line rather than your well-being—they operate based on profitability. They employ various tactics that usually have the same endgame: minimizing what they pay out or even dismissing legitimate claims altogether.
Understanding these approaches helps you counter these tactics and influences how successfully your claim gets negotiated. The following are some of the most common tactics an insurance company will use when attempting to limit your payout:
One of the most common strategies employed by insurance companies is to outright deny liability. They might argue that their policyholder was not at fault for causing your injury, whether it’s in cases of car accidents, slip and fall incidents, or work-related injuries.
At other times, they could claim comparative negligence—stating you played a role in causing the damages, thus giving them grounds to reduce your compensation or absolve them from paying altogether.
Minimize Your Injuries
Another tactic widely used by insurers involves minimizing injury claims. Insurers have been observed disputing medical expenses as “too high” or challenging diagnoses made by physicians who treat injuries.
They may also question the severity of presented symptoms and insist that they are a result of pre-existing conditions rather than issues caused by the accident. Through this maneuver, insurers aim to downplay your level of suffering, which helps trim down their liability and compensation amounts owed to you.
Surveillance and Social Media Scrutiny
In an era of technology, insurance companies are known to use surveillance methods or monitor your social media activity in an attempt to discredit your claim. They could potentially twist what they observe and argue that you’re not as injured as you assert.
For example, an image of you lifting a heavy item could be used to counter your claim for back injuries. This stands true regardless of the context in which the photo was captured or if it resulted in pain following the act.
Prolonging the claims process is another underhanded tactic insurers apply frequently. They might be slow in responding about the claim’s status despite your numerous follow-ups.
Another tactic is having your claim passed between different adjusters or departments, creating confusion and further prolonging settlement discussions and payouts.
Such delay tactics can put significant stress on you, particularly if medical expenses are accumulating and your income is reduced due to an inability to work. The mounting financial pressure could coerce swift settlements even where payouts do not adequately compensate for damages suffered.
Unreasonably Low Settlement Offers
Another common tactic is for insurers to make unreasonably low initial settlement offers without any legitimate justification. The main thought process here is that you might be overwhelmed by your situation – like medical bills and loss of income – and may accept any monetary help offered without fully considering whether it covers the damages incurred.
Always remember, the first offer does not need to be taken as final and has room for negotiation. Seek legal advice prior to settling, as the insurance company may be engaging in bad faith practices.
Request Documents That Are Unnecessary or Hard to Obtain
Insurance companies sometimes try resisting claims by asking for unnecessary documents or those that are difficult to obtain. They know these requests can frustrate you into abandoning your claim or agreeing on an undervalued settlement out of desperation.
Be organized with relevant paperwork before initiating a claim, but also consult a personal injury lawyer when asked for anything that seems unreasonable. They could help decipher if it’s genuinely needed or whether it’s the insurer’s attempt at stonewalling.
How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help With an Insurance Claim?
Insurance companies invariably have legal representation backing them through claim processes, and their only goal is to pay out as little money as possible. It only makes sense to level the playing field and hire your own attorney to help you.
Here’s how a lawyer can assist:
Maximize Your Compensation
When it comes to maximizing your compensation, experienced personal injury lawyers employ a variety of strategies:
They conduct an in-depth analysis of the accident and injuries suffered. This process involves gathering evidence—including medical records, eyewitness testimonies, and expert opinions—thereby establishing a strong factual basis for your claim.
Accurate Estimation of Damages
Personal injury attorneys are skilled at calculating accurate claim values. This encompasses immediate economic damages like medical expenses or damaged property and future treatment costs, lost wages, and non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
In situations where settlement offers do not meet the amount you deserve, having proper legal representation ensures you’re prepared to take matters to court if required.
Ultimately, you’re almost always more likely to receive more compensation when working with a professional.
Handle Complex Documentation
Claim procedures often demand extensive paperwork. This includes not just filling out insurance forms but may also require filing lawsuits if negotiations aren’t successful.
Professional legal guidance ensures that all necessary documentation is accurately submitted, which otherwise could become grounds for rejecting claims by insurers.
Access to Resources and Expert Witnesses
In dealing with personal injury claims, access to resources and experts is a critical aspect. Insurance companies operate with extensive financial backing and an army of lawyers at their disposal. They have the means to hire expert witnesses who can contest aspects of your claim, like the severity of your injury or the estimation of damages caused.
You need to be able to do the same.
Review Settlement Documents and Releases
It’s essential to thoroughly review any settlement documents or releases offered by insurance companies. These agreements carry legal weight, and once signed, they will limit your ability to bring future claims related to your injury.
These documents are typically filled with dense legal terminologies that could prove hard for a layperson to understand fully. A lawyer ensures that all terms are as agreed upon during negotiations.
Contact Our Personal Injury Attorneys for Help Navigating the Insurance Claims Process
When dealing with insurance companies, it’s important to adopt a proactive strategy. Armed with knowledge about common tactics that insurers might employ helps you be prepared should you encounter them.