5 Tricks Insurance Companies Use to Pay you Nothing
Insurance companies are not evil, they are just really good at their job. Their business model is to as much money in as possible through premiums, and then pay as little out as possible through claims. It is a very profitable business model. When you get in a crash, you are a novice with a squirt gun, and you are facing an experienced pro with a bazooka. This article breaks down 5 of the most common tricks insurance companies use to justify paying you nothing on your claim.
Trick #1 The Good Guy Approach
When a claim gets reported, insurance adjusters may reach out to you right away. They will be extremely friendly and seem quite helpful and try to make everything very easy for you. This sounds like a great thing, and it could be a great thing. Their job is to make you feel comfortable and to gain your trust. At a time when you are distressed and may be in pain, this is a welcome idea that you will have the help of someone that has your best interest in mind. Unfortunately, at the end of this helpful rainbow, there may be no pot of gold. Possibly just a bag of empty promises and perhaps even downright lies. What happens is the adjuster might say something like, “We are so sorry this happened, we want to take care of this for you and handle it the quickest way possible so you can get on with your life. We are willing to go ahead and pay your medical bills and then we’ll actually give you additional thousand dollars.” This is an early attempt to settle the claim with a low offer. To some people, one thousand dollars may seem like a lot of money. They are grateful and pretty excited to accept that. Then the insurance company will out a form to sign and return to them before they will issue the check to the claimant. That form is actually a release of liability that closes the case. Once that is signed that’s the end of the case. It doesn’t matter what expenses come up after that point. The claimant might even be out of work for another year because of their injury but that is all they are going to get because the release was already signed. Though this initial offer from the insurance company may have seemed generous at the time, as time goes on, the claimant may realize that all of the bills were not in or themselves or other passengers that were in the car and are still in pain and wish that they would have waited a bit longer to be certain of what the long range effects of the accident would be.
If you feel that you are being rushed or pressured to accept an offer from the at-fault insurance company to quickly, you do have the right to say that you need more time. If you feel like you are not being treated fairly or that the adjuster is not listening to you, it would be helpful to you to consult a personal injury attorney. Most P.I. attorneys offer initial consultations for free. This would give you the opportunity to ask questions and decide what type of settlement would be fair and reasonable in your situation.
Trick #2 Taking a Recorded Statement
Obtaining a recorded statement in not so much a trick, but insurance companies are going to want to take a statement from all the key parties involved in the accident. This is an effective method for them to preserve the record of what happened. It is very helpful to them to get a recorded statement that may help them prove that their insured was only partially at fault or not at fault at all.
Because this initial statement is important and it is not your own insurance company doing the interview, it might be better to wait a little bit before you actually give your recorded statement. Allow yourself some time to make sure that you’re not emotional at the time. You also need to allow enough time to pass to be sure that you don’t have pain from injuries that you were not aware that you had. Sometimes aches and pains are not evident until a day or two after the accident. If you gave a statement right after the accident stating that you were fine and had no pain or injuries and then woke up the next morning with a stiff neck or bruised area on your body, the insurance company may question if you are telling the truth. If they call you for the statement immediately after the accident, you could state that you were not up to dealing with it at the time and then call them back the next day. You have the right to take more time. You may even have the right to refuse to make a recorded statement in some cases. This is something that an attorney could advise yours about.
If you are going to make a statement, it is a good idea to plan ahead what you will say. Write down some notes including the events that led to the accident and the facts about what happened before, during and after. Be clear and stick to the facts only. Statements like, “This is happening at a really bad time right now” or ” I can’t handle one more bill”, may make you seem desperate and very eager to settle and you may get a very low offer. Remember just stick to the facts. Include the names and information of any witnesses that were at the scene of the accident and don’t minimize your pain or injuries.
In some instances, it will be necessary to make a statement soon after the accident so the claim process can begin. Just Remember that your recorded statements can be good opportunities to get you to say something wrong or to trip you up and say something that you don’t mean or that you didn’t understand on the record. They will then be able to use those statements against you later. When you do make your statement, be honest and clear about what happened and how it is affecting you. You may also record your statement as you make it or even ask the interview if they can provide you with a copy. Some insurance companies will do this. Having your own copy of your statement could prove helpful later if your accident was serious or the person at-fault seems to be in question and it seems your case will be headed to court. The lawyers at McMullin Legal Group understand that this is one of the major tricks insurance companies use.
Trick #3 Pointing the Finger at Another Driver
Some car accidents may involve multiple parties. Even in just a two-car accident, sometimes there will be disputes about what happened and who was at fault. But particularly in accidents involving three or four or even more cars, can this be the case. Insurance companies are really good at deciding that someone else was at fault rather than their own insured. When this happens everybody is pointing the finger at another driver and as a result, no one is stepping up and accepting responsibility to handle the claim. So it forces litigation. Then you have to file a lawsuit and sue everyone because once it gets into the legal system then everyone will finally be incentivized to actually figure out what a judge or jury would do. Once the judge or jury are involved people tend to start being a little more honest. Unfortunately, when this happens it can waste valuable time and money, often taking more than a year to get resolution on your case. In cases such as this, a percentage of fault in the accident will be determined for each driver and the insurance companies will have to pay the expenses of the accident accordingly. This percentage of fault would be determined by evidence and testimony through the trial process. The attorneys at McMullin Legal Group in St. George, Utah know that this is one of the major tricks insurance companies use.
Trick #4 Pointing the Finger at Another Cause
This is extremely common. Insurance companies like to point to anything else that could possibly be the cause of your injuries other than the accident. The primary thing they would point at would be if you have ever had an injury to the same part of your body before the crash. They are going to want to look at your medical history. If you have dealt with even a similar problem before, they are going to blame your current problem on that. It is going to be their primary argument. You will need to be able to prove to the contrary.
Secondly, they may also argue that the crash was minimal and that there is no way that the impact of that crash could cause the type of injury to the human body that you are claiming. Even though they know that this argument won’t hold up in court because it has been proven through studies that even very small impacts can potentially result in serious injury. But they will bring it up nonetheless to try to scare you away from making a claim.
The third way they could point the finger at another cause is by getting on your social media to see if you go swimming or play basketball or go to the gym after your accident. And if you do, they could come back and say, “They have been at a gym so they could have hurt themselves at the gym.” This is ridiculous because they know that even people that are hurt try to live their lives as close as they can to normal and they are perfectly justified in doing so. But still, they may try to use that against you. On social media, they may also find posts showing you on vacations or doing activities with your family and draw the conclusion that you must not be in as much pain as you claim because you are able to participate in those activities. For this reason, be cautious as you make posts on social media. The lawyers at McMullin Legal Group in Cedar City UT are aware that this is a major trick insurance companies use.
Trick #5 Arguing That You Didn’t go to the Doctor Enough
The insurance company can actually argue that you didn’t go to the doctor enough. They can do the opposite of what you might expect. They can argue the medical services that you receive both ways. Meaning that if the impact of your car accident wasn’t that hard in their opinion and you go to the doctor a lot, they will argue that you are faking it and that you weren’t really hurt. But if the opposite is true and you are someone that doesn’t really like to go to the doctor so you visit the doctor the minimal amount that you can and you just try to heal on your own to keep your medical costs down, now they might use that against you too. They could claim that if you were really hurt, you would have gone to the doctor more.
So, If you don’t seek enough medical attention they could use that against you saying that if you were hurt you would have received more treatment. On the other hand, if you received a lot of medical treatment, they may say that you are faking it. Either way, the insurance company can use it as the argument against you. So be smart and take care of yourself appropriately by getting the treatment that is needed but does not be excessive.
Insurance Company Tricks –
This article has brought to your attention five strategies that an insurance company could use to deny your claim against them or at least decrease their costs. They are loopholes that the adjuster may use to minimize their fault and question your integrity. It is smart to be aware that these areas could be scrutinized and manipulated by the insurance companies to turn the case in their favor. Awareness will help you be better prepared to deal with their questions and protect your rights. It is important that you feel that you are being heard by the adjusters involved in your case and that you are being fairly compensated for your expenses and pain and suffering caused by the accident. Laws are in place to make sure that this happens. If you have concerns, let a qualified personal attorney advise you about tricks insurance companies use after a car accident in Cedar City Utah.