Insurance Company Traps
Insurance companies have instilled processes to optimize their efficiency and to save money. Insurance companies have evaluated each stage of the personal injury, claim process and use tactics that are often profitable when used against an unsuspecting victim. Henderson Law is here to help you deal with the insurance company. Here are a few of the common insurance company traps we have seen. These are not the only tricks insurance companies will try, but by us sharing this list you will be able to see them coming and be better prepared.
The Written or Recorded Statement
If you have just been involved in an auto accident, then you might receive a telephone call from the other driver’s insurance company. That call may seem innocent at first as the claims representative’s call may contain well wishes and comments about getting your car fixed right away. That call may quickly transition into a request to take your recorded statement. While you will ultimately need to decide what is best for you in terms of providing a written or recorded statement, you have to be very careful in deciding to provide such a statement. It is not uncommon for an insurance carrier to request a statement immediately after an accident and at a point in time when you may not know the full extent of your injuries, let alone have the shock from the accident wear off. So, in response to questions about pain, you might tell the insurance company that you are not in pain, only to develop such pain in the days and weeks ahead. Even if that turns out to be the case, the insurance company and/or the lawyer(s) that it hires for its Insured will repeatedly try to use your initial statement against you. So, if you decide to give a recorded statement, you need to know that statements that seem innocent today may ultimately come back to haunt you later.
The Medical Records Authorization
An insurance company may tell you that it has agreed to accept liability for your accident and needs you to send it a signed, medical records authorization so that it can secure your medical records and evaluate your claim. In reality, the insurance company often secures these records in an effort to find pre-existing conditions and make the argument that your claims are unrelated to the accident so that it can make you a low-ball settlement offer. You should think long and hard before providing a signed, medical records authorization to an insurance company.
The Quick Settlement
In years past, it was not uncommon to hear of an insurance company sending a settlement check to an injured party hoping that the injured party would cash the check thereby ending their personal injury claim for an insignificant sum. While that practice has long abated, it is not uncommon for insurers to try and settle a case with an injury victim before the injury victim hires an attorney. That is because the insurers know that many accident victims are unfamiliar with their rights under the law and may take a sum that is much lower than an attorney would recommend. So, if the insurance company is offering you a quick settlement, you really need to think about whether it is prudent to accept it.
Dragging Its Feet
The insurance companies recognize that the anger felt by an injury victim may subside over time. Insurance companies also recognize that an injury victim may become eager to settle, after the injury victim’s medical bills begin to pile up. The insurance company, therefore, will often use the passage of time to the disadvantage of the injured person. So, while there will often be time needed for the injury victim to reach maximum medical improvement and for the insurer to consider a settlement demand, the injury victim should not permit the insurer to consider his or her claim in perpetuity. The insurance company is only trying to stall so as to minimize your expectations and to secure a cheaper settlement. A lawyer should be able to advise you as to whether the insurer’s handling of your claim is reasonable or an apparent stall tactic.
At Henderson Law, we are here to counsel our personal injury clients as to the appropriate response to an inquiry from an adverse insurance company. If you need a personal injury lawyer in Maryland or the District of Columbia, we would be happy to discuss your personal injury claim with you today.