No matter what they say in commercials, insurance companies are neither your friend nor on your side. Insurance companies are businesses where the most important thing is the bottom line for their shareholders. The less they can pay out in insurance claims, the better.
That means your insurance representative will try their best to minimize your recovery after a crash. In many cases, that includes misleading or outright dishonest behavior.
When it comes down to dealing with insurance companies after a car accident, the only person who’s actually in your corner is your lawyer. Only your attorney has your best interests in mind at all times, no matter what twists and turns your case may take.
If you’re filing a claim for injuries with your insurance company, you should always talk to a lawyer before making a statement or accepting a settlement offer. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you avoid some of the common tricks that insurance companies use to minimize and deny claims of legitimate insurance policyholders. These tricks include:
1. Misrepresenting the Terms of Your Coverage
Insurance representatives take advantage of the fact that policy documents are long and complicated. Most insurance documents are written by lawyers for lawyers to read. To make things worse for the average person, you cannot trust insurance company representatives to accurately explain the requirements or details of your coverage.
If you’ve ever tried to get customer service on an insurance claim, you know how hard it can be to get a straight answer. If you don’t have a lawyer, your insurance company could claim that:
- You have policy coverage limits when in reality they don’t apply
- Your insurance will only cover certain types of medical treatment
- You must use your insurance company’s in-network doctors or mechanics
None of these may actually be true. You may deserve much more than you think.
An experienced personal injury lawyer can cut through the legalese to get you the maximum benefit possible under your insurance coverage, leaving no stone unturned.
2. Asking to See Your Medical Records
Your insurance company may tell you that you must send them your medical records – this is false. They may even claim that they care about you and want to advise you on the type of medical treatment you should get – also not true. Instead, insurance claim reviewers will use your medical records to find any loophole or reason to deny you coverage.
That’s why you should always talk to a lawyer first before sending over any personal, private medical records to your insurance company.
3. Downplaying Your Injuries After a Crash
After a car accident, your insurance company may suggest getting checked out by their in-house doctors. This might sound convenient, but staff doctors may be instructed by the insurance company to minimize injuries as much as possible in their notes and diagnoses. They might avoid doing further tests in favor of a more surface-level assessment.
One big danger is missing latent injuries that may not be obvious right away – concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBI) fall into this category. To catch these injuries, you may have to go through additional tests or medical imaging like MRIs or X-rays. This might not happen if a doctor doesn’t take a more thorough approach. And if you don’t get the treatment you need, then your injuries could get worse over time.
Your medical record is an important piece of evidence in any personal injury claim. A medical professional’s observations carry significant weight. That’s why you should go to a doctor you trust has your best interests in mind – an independent medical professional.
4. Pressuring You to Record a Statement or Admit Fault
After filing a claim with your insurance company, a claims adjuster may tell you that you must record a statement about what happened in the accident. This is false.
You do not have to and should not record a statement with your insurance company without a lawyer by your side. Insurance companies will twist your words in any way possible to avoid paying out your claims, even if you didn’t think you were at fault in the accident.
If your insurance company asks for a statement, just tell them you need a lawyer before discussing the facts. Your attorney can act as a shield against this type of predatory behavior.
5. Delaying Your Claims to Force You to Settle
There is no such thing as a “convenient” time for a car accident. If you’ve been injured or your car has been damaged in a crash, you’ll most likely need some financial support as you recover. This is especially true if you need significant medical treatment or you become unable to work.
Insurance exists to provide this support when the unexpected happens – that’s what they always say in the commercials, right? In reality, insurance companies will do everything they can to delay approving even legitimate claims. The longer they make you wait, the more desperate they’re betting you’ll get. They’re hoping that you’ll be more likely to accept a lowball settlement for much less than you actually deserve just to get something.
An experienced personal injury lawyer will push to resolve your claims quickly. You can let your lawyer deal with the insurance company while you focus on your health. Your attorney can also help you determine whether a settlement offer from your insurance company is an appropriate amount for your case or negotiate a better offer when necessary.
6. Telling You That You Don’t Need a Lawyer
This is perhaps the most dangerous lie an insurance company can tell. Insurance companies don’t want you to get a lawyer because it usually means bad news for them.
Your case is much more likely to get a good result with a lawyer than without. Only your lawyer is fully committed to you – not to insurance profits. And when your attorney works on a contingency fee basis, they’re just as invested in the success of your case as you are.
Having a lawyer can help speed up the insurance claims process and get you much greater compensation in a settlement. When you work with a lawyer who’s experienced in car accident cases, they’ll know how to avoid all the tricks insurance companies will use.
Contact us now for a free consultation with the lawyers at Sepulveda Sanchez Law.