Trying to handle your own personal injury case? Insurance companies may try to take advantage of you! Here are five tricks insurance companies like to use against you.
- Giving a recorded statement. After a car accident, you will likely receive a call from the insurance company for the person who hit you, asking for a recorded statement. You figure it’s no big deal to just tell them my side of the story. Sadly, this is a tactic an insurance company will use to get you to make a mistake and say the wrong thing, causing them to deny your case. Never give a statement.
- Taking lowball offers early. Often time, immediately following a crash, an insurance company will call and offer a minimal amount to settle your claim. The offer will often come with a promise to pay a certain amount of medical bills in the event you go for treatment, with a small amount to you for pain and suffering. While this may seem tempting following a car accident, the insurance company is taking advantage of your vulnerability. They know you face the uncertainty of getting bills paid and hope you will take a quick, easy payout. The problem with this is that often you don’t know how serious your injury is right away. It could take days or weeks to know the true injury. If you’ve accepted an amount for medical bills and pain and suffering before it occurs, you will be stuck with an amount too low to cover all your expenses and pain and suffering. The offers are almost always lowball offers and an attempt to take advantage of you in a time of uncertainty.
- Delaying the claims process. It’s common that you will hear from the insurance company of the person who hit you, and they will set up a claim but fail to explain the process to you. After a day or two, you will start to be concerned, and the claims adjuster will not be reachable. They will delay getting back to you or never return your call at all. These tactics are designed to make you tired, angry, and more likely to accept a low offer to end the process or abandon your claim completely. Don’t get angry and frustrated by this tactic.
- Pretending to show care and concern. Insurance companies are notorious for fooling people into acting against their best interest by acting like they care about or are concerned about you and your injuries and ensuring you are taken care of. The insurance company’s only concern is paying as little as possible to settle your case. They use this trick to gain your trust and to get you to say something against your best interest. This is often used in conjunction with giving a recorded statement.
- Telling you not to hire a lawyer. Early on, many insurance companies will dissuade you from hiring an injury lawyer. They will tell you your case is small or easy and that they will settle with you. The truth is that people who are represented by a lawyer are estimated to get more the three times the settlement than if they handle it by themselves. *
After an accident, you may have worries and fears. Consulting with a personal injury lawyer is always free, and it costs nothing to hire one. That’s why insurance companies will trick you into not having one. If you’ve been hurt through no fault of your own, hire an injury lawyer to help you navigate the maze of your injury case to alleviate your stress, worries, and fears.
*Insurance Research Counsel study 1999.