After you have been injured in a car accident, you may believe that the insurance company is your friend. After all, we've seen commercials for insurance companies that promise they are absolutely on your side in your greatest time of need. However, when you are actually involved in an accident and report your personal injury claim to the insurance company, the first step they will take is to send a licensed adjuster to determine the value of your claim.
While these adjusters may appear friendly, it is important to remember that their main job is to try and minimize the value of your claim as much as possible. They don't work for you. They are employed and paid by the insurance company. So, their priority, naturally, is to look out for their employer's best interests, not yours.
Here are just some of the tricks that insurance adjusters may employ or try to employ:
Lack of communication: As you begin your claim process, you may have a lot of questions including how to get your car repaired and how you should go about seeking medical treatment for your injuries. Some adjusters may not return your calls with the hope that you will give up out of sheer frustration and because you have so much else to deal with during this time.
Once you reach a breaking point, the adjuster knows that they can give you a lowball offer. Adjusters are also very well aware of the statute of limitations on your claim. If your claim has been going on for some time, adjusters may refuse to contact you with the hope that the deadline runs out. In this case, you may not be able to recover compensation through either the claims process or through a lawsuit.
Signing papers: Be careful about signing any papers or agreements that your insurance adjusters may give you. Another way that adjusters may try to avoid liability for their insured is by using your medical records against you. It is critically important to watch what you tell adjusters especially when you put anything in writing. For example, in order to get access to your medical records, the adjuster will have to get your signed authorization. However, it might not be in your best interest to sign it because the insurance company might try to use your medical information against you.
Recorded statements: One dirty trick insurance adjusters often try to pull is asking for a recorded statement. While it may seem harmless, this may turn into a process where they can take your answers out of context. Do not agree to a recorded interview and do not provide statements without first contacting your lawyers.
Delaying payment: When you are recovering from injuries you have sustained in a car accident, you are likely looking at a number of expenses that have put pressure on your finances. Medical expenses alone have the potential to financially ruin someone. Insurance adjusters know very well that you are facing financial burdens and may try to take advantage of your financial position by delaying the payment of your claim as long as possible. This is one of the tricks insurance companies use to twist your arm into agreeing to a smaller settlement.
Surveillance: Insurance companies go through a lot to reduce your settlement amount. In some cases, they may go to extraordinary lengths even putting their own customers under surveillance. For example, if they get a video of you doing some activity such as bending down to pick up a package from your front porch, they could use that to argue that your injuries weren't as serious as you claimed. Insurance companies even stake out social media pages to get dirt on claimants. This is why it is very important that you do not post anything on social media that can be used against you.
Unscrupulous tactics: Sometimes, insurance companies and adjusters may even discourage an injured party from seeking the advice of an attorney. They know that when you get an experienced car accident lawyer on your side, they will typically have to make a fair settlement.
Why You Need an Experienced Lawyer
Our knowledgeable Orange County car accident lawyers have years of experience dealing with insurance companies and the tricks insurance adjusters employ. We know how to protect your rights. If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident and are now facing the challenge of dealing with insurance companies, we can help ensure that your rights are upheld. Call us today for a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation.