Many folks like you, when thinking of the car accident settlement process, feel that insurance company employees are simply going to fairly measure your injuries, then pay you what is "owed."
However, it's not that simple. Insurance companies make a profit by maximizing the amount of money people pay in premiums and reducing the amount paid out in claims to injured people like you. It's their business model and people, like you, can be taken advantage of if they're unaware.
DID YOU KNOW: It has even been disclosed that the adjusters can get paid BONUSES in reducing payouts!
We are frequently seeing cases in which people are taken advantage of. That said, we want to share with you 8 Shady Tactics they use to reduce paying you what you are owed.
1: They're looking at your life!
Particularly in cases where we have a client that is severely injured, insurance claims representatives will delve into social media accounts. They'll even have you followed and videoed in public. They may take a few moments of walking to your door without a cane or other assistive device (if a medical professional recommends one) and try to claim you were fine the entire time!
That's why when we litigate cases we frequently demand any and all surveillance of clients. During the civil discovery process they usually have to "give up the goods" on what they have on clients. Usually? It's nothing.
2. They'll put up roadblocks
They don't want you to separate the forest from the trees.
Insurance companies relish in delaying your claim. They'll make you get overly-involved in paperwork. They'll place all kinds of hoops for you to jump through. They'll confuse you and mix in property and personal injury policy limits. They want to "run that clock" because guess what? They know that if you play the game long enough you may miss the statute of limitations and you'll lose your claim forever.
One frequently tactic they use is to only evaluate your claim based on your present injuries. If you sign that settlement form, you may be "donezo" if you ever develop further pain and discomfort from the original injury. That's why it's important to engage an attorney early.
3. Spying on your Facebook
Always be very cautious what you say on social media because they will misconstrue that, if possible, just like they will on recorded phone calls.
TIP FROM US: Hire an attorney before any discussions with the other person's insurance company.
4. Inserting tricky clauses into routine documents
We come across this regularly. If you don't have an attorney representing you - and even if you do - they will frequently try to get ALL of your medical records, even if it's not related to the accident. In those release documents, if you examine the fine-print, you're agreeing for them to look even YEARS back! For unrelated things!
They do this because they may want to pin your ailment on a pre-existing condition. Sometimes they'll go to great lengths to draw that connection, even if it's not entirely supported by medical science.
5: Asking Incomplete Questions / Trying to Frame You In The Wrong Light
These insurance adjusters want to blame you whenever they can for the accident. We urge clients to contact us immediately, rather than playing "their game."
One of the insurance adjuster "tools of the trade" is to ask incomplete questions to people that don't have attorneys on recorded phone calls.
We had one case where a bush partially obstructed a client's view. The client, out of an abundance of caution, pulled into the roadway for a full 30 seconds so any other cars could see him before he pulled out. After the accident, the other driver's insurance company denied the claim (initially) by asking on a prerecorded call if the client was to blame for pulling out into a roadway. The client didn't see the trickery and said, "Yes!" However, only when the full facts came out was it clear THEIR DRIVER was at fault. If a car is in the road for a full 30 seconds, the law recognizes it was the fault of the other driver for being negligent.
That's but one example out of many. In summation, don't play the games of the insurance companies!
6: They blame Colossus.
Most insurance companies use a complex computer program called "Colossus" to evaluate a claim, using various metrics. Not only are the metrics suspect and not properly assess certain accident-related conditions, but we know many of the limitations of this program.
The insurance adjuster will usually just blame the computer program for the low settlement number. Don't be taken advantage of in this process.
7: Colossus uses a Plaintiff attorney's "batting average."
This program, depending on the version, may look at your attorney's "batting average." By that, it looks to whether your attorney is willing to sue if the number is too low. We take pride in fighting for our clients who wish to pursue this route and are unafraid of taking a case to trial. We want the maximum amount of recovery for our clients so they can be made whole again.
8: "Do you really need a lawyer?" -Their Insurance Company
Keep in mind what we said before: they want to avoid or reduce payouts. Lawyers, that know what they are doing, hold the insurance companies accountable. You need someone that knows the rules of the road to maximize compensation.
Correll Law Firm, PLC (www.correllfirm.com) has experience confronting the insurance companies and fighting for financial recovery of our clients. If you have been injured in a car accident or the negligence of someone in other ways, call us at (540) 535-2005 for a free case evaluation.
The insurance companies know how to reduce your claim value. Do you know how to obtain the maximum amount you're entitled to?