Tactics Used by Insurance Companies during a Car Accident Case
For most people who have been injured in an auto accident, they must deal with an insurance company during the process of filing a claim and seeking to recover compensation for their injuries. And in the vast majority of cases, the injured party does not have previous experience dealing with an insurance claims adjuster.
The thing that is most important to know about insurance adjusters is that their goal is to save their employer money. And since you are trying to obtain full and fair compensation for the injuries you suffered, their interests are not aligned with yours. Adjusters are professional negotiators who process claims week in and week out, and they utilize numerous tactics to keep the settlement amounts as low as possible.
If you find yourself dealing with an insurance company for an injury claim, you should view them as an adversary, and you should be aware of the various tactics they may use to diminish the value of a claim:
Contacting a Claimant Right after an Accident
It is not uncommon for you to receive a call from an insurance adjuster within just a few days after a car accident under the pretense of finding out “how you are doing”. The main purpose of contacting you this soon is to build rapport, establish trust, and dissuade you from obtaining legal counsel. Adjusters will typically make statements like, “don’t worry, we will take care of you”. They may also imply that you are better off without an attorney, or that you will receive the same settlement amount regardless of whether or not you hire a lawyer. During this conversation, you must remember what the adjuster’s goal is. They may act like your friend, but this is all part of the negotiation, with the end goal of paying out as little as possible.
Asking for Unnecessary Information
After an insurance adjuster has gained your trust, they may ask you for a recorded statement and a medical release. These may sound like reasonable requests, and they will present them as “formalities” that are needed to process your claim. The reality is that there is no good reason to provide a recorded statement or medical release to an insurer. A voice recorded or written statement puts you on record, often before all the facts and evidence in the case are known, and before you know the full extent of your injuries. A medical release allows the insurer to look at your full medical history, which they will use to try to dig up any information that can to discredit your claim.
Offering a Quick Settlement in Exchange for the Release of your Claim
Insurance companies know that, after being injured in a car accident, finances are tight and injury victims are often motivated to get a settlement check sooner rather than later. They will often try to take advantage of this by presenting a lowball settlement offer early on, especially if they believe that you have a strong case. Most often, the offer will be for far less than what your claim is worth, and if you take the quick money, you forfeit your right to pursue any additional compensation later on.
Spying on You
If you have been injured in a car accident and you are pursuing a claim from an insurer, you need to be very careful how you go about your daily life. Insurance companies are known to use private investigators to perform surveillance on personal injury claimants and look for reasons to believe that their injuries are not as severe as they are claiming. Always follow doctors’ orders, and do not participate in any activities your doctor does not authorize. Along these same lines, be very careful about what you post on social media after the accident. You may think you have strong privacy settings, but insurance companies have extensive resources. As such, you should always assume that anything you put on social media will be seen by the other side and act accordingly.
Unnecessarily Delaying your Claim
If you do not comply with their requests for information and you refuse their settlement offer, they may try to frustrate you by delaying the claim unnecessarily. It is not unusual for an insurer to “go dark” for several weeks or months, hoping that you will give up while simultaneously running out the clock on the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit. In Mississippi, the statute of limitations for most car accident cases is three years, which can go by fast when you are not hearing from them for months at a time. If this is happening to you, get in touch with an experienced auto accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Injured in a Car Accident in Mississippi? Contact the Gardner Law Firm Today for a Free Consultation
When you are dealing with an insurance company after an auto accident, there are numerous traps and pitfalls you could fall into that could cause your claim to be diminished or denied altogether. With insurance companies expending vast resources to protect their interests, it only makes sense to have an experienced advocate in your corner who is looking out for your interests.
For car accidents in Biloxi, Gulfport, Pascagoula, Ocean Springs, and communities throughout Southern Mississippi, contact the Gardner Law Firm to schedule a free consultation. Call our office today at (228) 900-9618 or message us through our web contact form.