If you are thinking of pursuing your own personal injury claim, dealing with insurance companies can get complicated really fast. And we are not saying this to scare you away. As part of our jobs, we have spent several years dealing with insurance companies and we can tell you for a fact that if you do not have the skills and experience to deal with them, your claim may take forever to conclude. If you do not know your rights, the insurance company might even decide to deny your claim.
With that said, here are 7 things you should know about insurance companies
Insurance Adjusters Know How to Negotiate
Insurance adjusters do not care about your best interests. Period. They care about their own bottom line so no matter how nice and charming they appear, don’t fall for it. They will try as much as possible to minimize the amount of money they pay out to each claim. They do this by refusing to recognize the value of the claim or simply denying the claim all together.
They Will Not Treat You Fairly
No matter how badly you need the money or how severe your injuries are, insurance company are not obligated to give you special treatment. You might cooperate with the insurance company by giving them all the information they need but at the end of the day, they might decide to deny your claim.
Their First Settlement Offer is Never a Fair one
Insurance companies know car accident victims are vulnerable and desperate. That’s why they offer lowball settlement offers. Don’t automatically accept the first settlement offer. And if the insurance company accepts your initial settlement offer immediately, it means you asked for a very low amount.
It’s very important that you first reach maximum medical improvement before you begin negotiations. This way, you’ll be able to know the full extent of your injuries, it will be easier to calculate current and future medical expenses as well as lost wages. Accepting the first offer could result in inadequate compensation.
They Will Try to Avoid Paying Medical Expenses
The insurance company will downplay the seriousness of your injuries or accuse you of faking your injuries. They might even claim that your injuries are from another accident. This is why it is important that you visit the hospital immediately so that your injuries can be documented. If you go after a day or two, the insurance company will argue that you weren’t hurt or that your injuries are fake. If you go to hospital, make sure you keep a copy of all your visits to the doctor and any sort of treatment you were given.
They Might Start to Ignore You If You Don’t Settle Immediately
They do this in effort to frustrate you so that you can give in to their offer. They might even start using delay tactics by claiming they lost your paperwork or simply refuse to return your calls. This is just one of their ways of ensuring that you miss your deadline for filing a suit. This is what we call insurance bad faith and the best way to handle them is hire an experienced attorney.
They Might Use Scare Tactics
Insurance companies have now started using extortion techniques. The latest one is to pay the policyholder’s claim then send a collections letter to the other driver. The insurance company does not care whose fault it was that the accident happened. They might send you that letter and threaten to have your driver’s license suspended. If this happens, don’t panic. They cannot legally suspend your driver’s license until a lawsuit has been filed against you and the court has issued a formal judgment against you.
They Might Trick You Into Signing Documents
The insurance company might agree to compensate you right off the bat on condition that you sign away your rights to pursue additional damages. This however is a huge mistake especially if you haven’t reached maximum medical improvement and an experienced attorney is yet to review the documents. Once you sign the agreement, you won’t be able to file a lawsuit even if your injuries turn out to be far more severe than you initially thought.