Did you know that insurance adjusters make it their job to decrease or diminish car accident settlements? We've seen it over and over again – insurance companies grasping at every tactic they can to lowball victims of car accidents. In this article, we'll discuss 3 tactics to look out for if you're going through a car accident case.
If you have been in an accident, don't delay contacting an injury claim lawyer. Having an attorney on your side can help you avoid critical mistakes that lower your accident settlement amount and protect you from shady insurance practices that stand in the way of your financial, physical, and emotional recovery. Schedule a free consultation with our lawyers in AZ or NM today by calling or texting 602-345-1818. Alternatively, you can fill out this convenient online form to request your free consultation.
They Keep Delaying
An extremely common tactic insurance companies use after a car accident injury is delay your settlement. They'll drag out your claim so long that you begin to really feel the financial burden. You see the continuous bills piling up, you may still be unable to work, and you begin to worry that you'll never be able to afford to recover. This is where many insurance companies want victims. They hope that when they finally do offer a settlement the increased financial stress will force victims to accept lowball amounts out of desperation.
Unfortunately, many victims have accepted small, inappropriate checks from insurance companies only to realize later that the money wasn't enough. Now they have more medical bills, have still not been able to work, and are in more pain than they realized they would be. Unfortunately, at this point, it's too late. Once you accept a settlement check, that's the end of your claim and your ability to file a lawsuit. It doesn't matter if your injury worsens or you develop complications – an accepted lowball settlement waives your right to sue or obtain more compensation to cover your expenses.
So how do you know if the insurance company is stalling? Here are some signs that you should contact a lawyer immediately:
- They keep requesting documentation one paper at a time. They should request all necessary documentation at one time. Repeated requests are a common delay tactic.
- They instantly deny a perfectly valid claim. This isn't right, and you can take legal action.
- They are repeatedly requesting unnecessary information and documentation, including intrusive and irrelevant medical records.
- They keep telling you that they don't yet have a decision.
- They keep requesting multiple statements from various people, including medical providers and property repair professionals.
- They are bringing up random laws and telling you what's legal and illegal
- They point to complex policy language as an attempt to confuse you.
- They switch insurance adjusters in the middle of your claim investigation.
- They delay the claim investigation entirely. If you hear no news for too long, it may be a sign that the insurance company is stalling.
They Deny Your Claim Entirely
Another common tactic is the complete and unsubstantiated denial of a valid car accident claim. The rejection of a valid claim could be a clear sign of bad faith insurance. However, take a close look at their reasoning – it could be justified, and it may be easily remedied. Some examples of why an insurance company may deny your claim include:
- A lack of coverage exists - Insurance can be complicated. Often claimants believe they have insurance coverage that they end up not having as specified in some random fine print somewhere within the policy.
- Coverage has expired or lapsed - This tends to happen in the case of automatic renewals. Sometimes a type of coverage may renew and another type may not. Make sure you're very clear on your policy renewal when you review it.
- The insurance company was not informed within a specific time frame - After an accident, the time clock starts on many fronts. There are several deadlines you want to be aware of, which your lawyer will help you keep track of. Contacting the insurance company in time is a big deadline to pay attention to after an accident.
- You failed to get treated within a specific timeframe - Another deadline you'll want to watch is when you seek treatment for your injuries. Waiting too late for treatment is a big mistake. Another mistake is not seeking consistent treatment if you need it.
- The claim was filed with mistakes or errors - When you're submitting a claim, make sure you double-check your work. Mistakes can cause unnecessary delays and denials. These mistakes can range from misspellings, administration errors, noncompliance with filing requirements, etc. If you catch a mistake after submission, make sure to contact the company as soon as possible to try to avoid any negative consequences.
- The claim contained fraudulent information - False or exaggerated claims can not only cause an insurance claim rejection, but they can also get you into a lot of legal trouble, both criminal and civil.
- Bad faith insurance practice - Bad faith insurance happens when an insurance provider fails to uphold an obligation to the policyholder. Bad faith may be to blame if a provider is withholding payment on a legitimate claim, delaying the process by an unreasonable amount of time, etc. If you believe this has happened to you, don't delay! Talk to an insurance lawyer as soon as possible.
Once you've reviewed the denial letter to understand the insurance company's reason for the denial, you may be able to appeal it. The best advice is to contact an injury claim lawyer to help you throughout the process.
They Attempt to Offer You a Very Quick Settlement
There's a very good reason many personal injury claims take a while to settle – your lawyer wants to ensure that you are at Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). When you get to this point in the process where further treatment would not improve your injury. At this point, you will better understand the extent of your medical costs, as well as the future costs you may incur to rehabilitate or manage the symptoms of your injury. Further, there are many injury-related expenses that the insurance company hasn't factored in and that you may not yet have realized. Some examples of other losses that may be left out of quick-turn settlement offers include:
- Prescription costs
- Home renovations needed as a result of your injury
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Rehabilitation expenses (such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, etc)
- Home cleaning and maintenance costs (if your injuries have prohibited you from maintaining your home)
- Emotional trauma
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Anxiety and depression
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
Don't accept a quick-turn, low settlement. The best advice is to contact a lawyer before you accept any amount to ensure you receive a fair and appropriate settlement that will allow you to recover and get back to your life.
Bad Faith Insurance Is Illegal
If an insurance company is acting in bad faith, which may be indicated by any or multiple tactics discussed in this article, legal action may be taken against the insurer. A.R.S. § 23-930. Contact an injury claim lawyer today to ensure you are protected from these types of transgressions. You have a right to recover from your injuries, and our team at Impact Legal will tirelessly work to ensure your right is protected.
Contact our injury claim lawyers today at 602-345-1818, or fill out our convenient online form here. We offer free initial consultations where we will review the facts of your case and point you in the right legal direction.