Why can’t you trust the insurance companies or their adjusters after you’ve been hurt? Here’s the deal: insurance companies are for-profit businesses. There is nothing wrong with making money—it is something we all need to do—but many of these insurance companies are in the business of maximizing their value to their shareholders. They need to make a big profit to keep their shareholders happy. This means that they are motivated to limit how much they pay out for claims.
After you file your injury claim, the insurance adjusters will be very nice and sympathetic, but they aren’t doing this for your benefit. They are hoping to find little details that they can then use against you to deny, delay, or minimize your claim. If you have been hurt, here are just some of the many ways that insurance companies may try to maximize profits at your expense:
I know it sounds like we are over-dramatizing what happens, but we have seen this time and time again in serious injury cases. We wish we could tell every car crash victim to be careful what they say or do for the insurance company after a bad car crash, but the sad truth is that a lot of victims are in the dark about their rights and how the insurance industry works.
As an example of a common insurance company trick, let’s take a look at some of the insurance companies’ tactics on the issue of medical bills. The insurance companies want their adjusters to say your doctors overcharged you for medical care so they don’t have to pay the bill. Do they offer to pay the part of the bill that they consider reasonable? Of course not. Even if the insurance companies did offer to pay the part of the bill they consider to be “reasonable,” here’s the problem: insurance adjusters typically don’t have the required qualifications to determine the reasonableness and correctness of medical bills. In order to make this determination, someone needs to have a background in the medical profession, at a minimum.
In addition, the insurance companies train their adjusters to question “causation, duration, and frequency of treatment” in injury cases:
The answers to all these questions require medical expertise, which most insurance adjusters don’t have. Please don’t fall for these kinds of tricks. You deserve more after suffering a serious injury that wasn’t your fault.
You are probably getting visits or calls from not one, but two or more insurance adjusters. Whether or not you should speak with the insurance adjuster after an accident will depend on which insurance adjuster you’re talking about. Each insurance company involved has an adjuster on your claim, and some insurance companies may have more than one adjuster on your claim. In every case that involves personal injuries, each insurance company opens two separate claims with an adjuster on each. You may be asked to speak to several different insurance adjusters about your injuries. When speaking with the insurance adjusters, you need to realize that these adjusters are not on your side and are not trying to help you. In fact, they are trying to pay you as little as possible. If at all possible, you should speak with a lawyer before you speak with these adjusters.
If you are unsure if you should be speaking with an insurance adjuster, don’t hesitate to call our experienced injury lawyers. We will help you determine your legal rights and how you can best protect yourself in your situation.
In their initial visit with you, insurance adjusters will try to talk you out of contacting a personal injury attorney. They may even bad-mouth lawyers in general. What they won’t tell you is that, while you hang around without an attorney, the insurance company has literally hundreds of attorneys on retainer working around the clock, examining your claim for ways to minimize or even eliminate it. Some insurance companies will send letters to people involved in accidents that tell the injured person that they do not need an attorney. Since 1995, for example, Allstate has been sending a letter entitled “Do I Need an Attorney?” which makes the following misleading claims, among others:
The letter includes many other statements that are misleading, half-true, or not true at all. In fact, the insurance company’s own statistics prove that it costs the insurance industry an average of $9000 more per claim when the injured person has a lawyer. The reason the insurance companies try to convince people not to hire an experienced lawyer is because they know they can settle the case more cheaply if the injured person doesn’t have a lawyer.
The real truth is that talking to a personal injury attorney—sooner rather than later—can only help your claim. A lawyer who is experienced in handling personal injury claims can walk you through your claim and give you a sense of the compensation you deserve after being hurt. Even if you don’t wind up hiring an attorney, that initial discussion will help you be able to better navigate the claims system and obtain a better settlement. If the insurance company is trying to convince you not to hire a lawyer, you should know right away that they are trying to trick you into settling your case for pennies on the dollar. Talking to an attorney will only strengthen your claim.
Insurance companies play a game with you when you try to make your injury claim. You will never win at their game, because they made up all the rules to benefit themselves. However, there is a lot you can do to protect yourself and avoid falling for their tricks:
If you have any question about whether or not the insurance adjuster is on your side, try asking them these pointed questions:
Listen to the adjusters’ reactions when you request these items. Their demeanor will reveal to you right away whose side they are really on.
It isn’t about you getting rich. It is about you having enough money to pay for the months, years, or even the lifetime of medical care you’ll need after a bad accident. For most serious injuries, you absolutely must consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer if you want to fight for the full worth of your claim. Once your case is in the hands of a qualified injury attorney, the insurance company can no longer play by its own made-up rules, but must abide by the rules of our legal system.
Fortunately, for the most part, the rules of our civil justice system are fair to injury victims, and they are certainly much fairer than the insurance company’s rules. If you believe the insurance company is using any of these tactics against you, call us now at 1-877-724-7800.