If you are injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you deserve compensation for your injuries. The person who caused your pain should do the right thing and accept responsibility for their actions. They or their insurance company should pay for your medical bills, loss of income, pain and suffering, and any other damages you have suffered as a result of their carelessness. After all, isn’t it the purpose of liability insurance to pay for the harm caused by their insured?
When you file your claim, you will soon learn that in most instances insurance companies have a different view of their role. They will do everything in their power to avoid paying your claim, and if they do accept that they must pay, they will likely offer you an amount that is far below the amount you deserve. Insurance companies are profit-driven, and while they may say that they train their adjusters to pay what they owe, that is rarely their actual practice. Clearly, the less they pay the higher their profits. Here we explain some of the tactics insurance companies use to deny or minimize claims, and how an attorney can help you maximize your settlement and get the insurance company to truly pay what they owe.
The Process of Personal Injury Claims
Your attorney will begin your claims process by putting the insurance company or companies on notice that they will be submitting a settlement demand on your behalf when the full value of your case can be determined. Typically, a demand is sent when your medical treatment has been completed. If you will require long-term medical care, a demand may be sent when your medical professionals can estimate your future needs and their cost. If the insurance company denies your claim or makes a low settlement offer, your attorney will discuss the insurance company’s response with you, and will most likely file a lawsuit on your behalf.
During the course of litigation there will be a formal exchange of information between the plaintiff and the defendant, whether in the form of written responses to questions, depositions (interviews under oath conducted by the attorneys), or the exchange of documents. Settlement negotiation can continue during this process, but if your case does not settle it may go to court, arbitration, or mediation. Your attorney will discuss your options with you throughout the process.
Insurance Company Non-Payment Tactics
As discussed above, insurance companies are for-profit companies that must answer to share holders, and will often use any tactic to deny or minimize the payment of your claim. Some common tactics employed by insurance companies include:
- Low-Ball Offers: Insurers will often make a low offer and pressure you to accept. They may tell you that if you do not accept, they will fight tooth and nail to avoid payment altogether or use other strong-arm tactics to try to get you to settle for less than you deserve.
- Deflection of Blame: Another common tactic is to try to make you believe that you were at-fault, or partially at-fault. For example they may say that if you had been paying proper attention you would have been able to avoid the incident. They may even distort witness statements to make it seem that you were responsible.
- Pre-Existing Injuries: Often insurers will argue that your injuries existed before the accident or are normal age-related conditions, and therefore they are not responsible.
- Argue That Your Injuries Are Not Serious: Insurance companies seem to assume that every injured person is exaggerating their condition and is trying to dishonestly inflate their claim. They often make this argument even when the medical evidence clearly indicates your injuries are serious.
Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
The best and often only way to combat the tactics employed by insurance companies is to have an experienced personal injury attorney fighting for your rights. If you’ve been injured due to the carelessness of another and need legal representation, Eglet Prince is here to help. Contact us today and we will provide a free consultation to discuss your case and put you on the road to receiving the compensation you deserve.