9 Tricks Insurance Companies Use to Avoid Paying You a Fair Settlement
As a premier car accident attorney law firm, Case Barnett Law has helped countless accident victims secure the compensation they deserve. If an insurance adjuster is refusing to offer you a fair settlement, we may be able to help. Call us at (949) 409-0055 to set up a free consultation.
If you think of your auto insurance provider as your friend or as a party that’s “on your side,” there’s a good chance you’ve never filed an expensive claim with them before. And hopefully, you never have to.
However, if the day ever comes when you do request reimbursement for extensive losses covered under your policy, you may come face to face with an uncomfortable realization: You are not their top priority. And they don’t intend to pay out a big claim without a fight.
It’s not that they’re malicious or wish you harm; in fact, their reasons aren’t even personal. At the end of the day, insurance companies are just businesses. They remain profitable by receiving more money in premiums than they pay out to their customers in claims, and the fact that your policy should cover your losses does little to sway their bottom line.
In this situation, one of the best things you can do to protect yourself is to partner with an experienced Orange County personal injury lawyer. That’s because a skilled lawyer knows all the tricks insurers use to avoid reimbursing you. Plus, insurance companies fear litigation; they would rather pay your claim than risk losing even more money in a lawsuit.
Keep reading to learn about the top nine tricks insurance companies use to avoid paying you a fair settlement and how a legal professional can help you get the compensation you deserve.
1. Misinterpreting Your Policy
Insurance policies are notoriously complex to understand, and unfortunately, this works to their advantage. Purposeful misinterpretation is one of the most basic ways that an insurer can reduce your claim or avoid paying it altogether. This could involve them claiming certain types of damage or types of drivers aren’t covered under your policy when they actually are.
2. Requiring an Excessive Documentation
It’s critical to understand that any documentation you provide to your insurer can potentially be used against you.
Insurance companies typically require you to provide extensive documentation in order to process your claim, including written or recorded statements, medical record releases and more.
Access to documents such as your full medical history, for example, gives them the chance to blame your injuries on a previous accident, illness or condition. That’s why it’s almost always a good idea to talk to an attorney before speaking with a claims adjuster.
3. Finding Technicalities
One of the most frustrating tricks insurance companies use to thwart your claim is denying it based on a technicality. Your claim may be completely valid insofar as your policy is concerned; regardless, they can deny it because you filed outside of the allotted time frame or because you didn’t provide what they consider to be “sufficient evidence” for your damages.
4. Offering a Low Initial Offer
When you’re in desperate need of funds after an accident, you’re more likely to take whatever offer comes your way—regardless of whether or not it’s what you deserve. Plus, it’s not uncommon for people to accept the first offer that comes their way, without taking time to do due diligence. Insurance companies know that, which is why they hedge their bets by making their first offer lower than what they might eventually pay out if pressed.
5. Lowballing You
Making a lowball offer is a form of risk mitigation on the insurer’s part. They typically use this tactic when they believe they have a strong case against you and that you’ll be willing to take anything you can get. Of course, if you accept their offer—even if it’s much lower than what you deserve—you waive the right to take further action if your injury turns out to be more severe than you initially thought.
6. Delaying Their Offer
Among tricks insurance companies use, delaying an offer may be the most cruel. They know that by refusing to respond to your requests for updates and new information, they give the bill collectors more time to come knocking. And with debt collectors closing in, you’re more likely to accept whatever amount they eventually offer rather than wait an indeterminate amount of time for them to send another offer.
7. Disputing Liability
One of the most effective ways to avoid paying out a fair settlement is disputing liability or fault. Your insurer may attempt to argue that you were actually to blame for the accident, that both drivers were at fault or that the other driver was at fault—whatever scenario allows them to shirk their responsibility for paying out according to your policy.
8. Arguing You Had Preexisting Injuries
If an insurer wants to avoid paying for your medical bills and treatment, they may make the argument that the accident merely exacerbated a preexisting condition. By arguing that the accident didn’t actually cause your injuries, your insurance company can successfully avoid paying for many related medical expenses.
9. Requiring Written or Recorded Statements
When you file your claim, your insurer may tell you that in order to actually process it, they need a written or recorded statement. The problem with providing one—especially before consulting an attorney—is that it’s all-too-easy for them to twist your words and use them against you. It’s essential to work with a personal injury attorney when crafting your statement.
We Can Help You Get the Settlement You Deserve
When it comes to tricks insurance companies use to avoid paying out, the most important thing to remember is this: They’re counting on you being ignorant of your rights.
After you’ve partnered with an experienced personal injury attorney from Case Barnett Law, they know that they’ve lost their advantage. With vast knowledge of both personal injury and insurance law, we have the expertise to force their hand. If your insurer still refuses to pay, we can take them to court with a car accident lawsuit.