Have no doubt that insurance adjusters everywhere try hard to take advantage of their customers. From outright denying claims to rushing settlements, insurance companies have a tactic for every situation. Here is how you can handle your insurance adjusters like a pro.
1. The Adjuster is Never on “Your Side”
The bigger your claim, the bigger the chances that your adjuster will be extra nice. They send the most helpful people in on claims that have the largest possibility of loss. Why? Because the nice insurance adjusters can make it seem like your injury isn’t that big of a deal. They’ll be sympathetic, empathetic, and friendly. The adjuster may spend hours or days building rapport only to tell you later that your claim is less than you expected.
These overly friendly adjusters will do everything they can to talk you out of hiring an attorney or requesting another opinion. They will downplay your injuries and any involved property damage. Then they will employ tactics such as acknowledging that they take “full responsibility.” Them taking responsibility has nothing to do with the value of your claim.
Ultimately, they try to make you feel better, so it seems like you’re getting a better deal when the settlement offer arrives.
Insurance Company Tactic
A common tactic found in nearly every insurance company’s repertoire is the use of empty phrases. As mentioned above, statements such as “we take on full responsibility for your injury,” doesn’t mean anything. It certainly does not mean that they’ll provide full compensation for your damages.
Additionally, they’ll promise fairness or cooperation. Again, neither of those words have any tangible impact on the compensation that you might receive. They promise assistance only means they’ll answer their phone. The promise of fairness doesn’t mean anything either as there is no numerical value to associate as “fair.”
2. You Can Accidentally Say Things That Negatively Impact Your Claim
The second you call your insurance company, they are recording. That means that if you’re making small talk with the adjuster, those statements can work against you. Even speaking with a customer service rep can come with ramifications.
First, they say you must give a statement. An insurance company may even insist that they can’t proceed without one. If you do provide a statement, be very careful with your word choices.
Second, when providing information, they may present you with questions that will nullify other parts of your claim. For example, if you say that this vehicle came “flying in from nowhere,” they might ask, “when did you see the vehicle coming up behind you?” If you respond to that question, it means that you did see the vehicle before the crash.
Finally, speaking on your injuries can cause severe harm to your claim. An adjuster may ask you how you’re feeling and if you respond “fine” or anything similar, it’s downplaying your injury. Most people don’t understand the full extent of their injuries at the time they’re giving a statement.
Insurance companies try to work so quickly to take a statement that you may not have seen a doctor yet.
3. Insurance Companies Attempt to Minimize Your Claim
From the start, an adjuster may make it seem like your claim is not that valuable. But, they’re not supposed to be able to do this. They may even outright say that you probably won’t get much because of some irrelevant factor. These subtle or not-so-subtle statements can make you expect less and then feel like you got a lot in a settlement.
The adjuster is always looking to keep as much money within the company as possible. That means that they will try to settle a claim for next to nothing, under any circumstance.
Insurance Company Tactic
The first tactic that comes to mind in claim minimization is a division of fault or responsibility. You may not even have a direct issue with this tactic if you were at-fault. Essentially the insurance company will say that the real victim of the situation was negligent and likely caused their injury.
Insurance Company Tactic
The second tactic employed here is to discount medical costs. The insurance companies use a calculator to estimate and project your medical expenses. However, the calculator they use may not reflect your medical debt at all.
If you have all of your doctors’ bills on hand, they will request them and send them for auditing. That auditing service will work with the medical care providers to agree on a discounted price. Then they will pay out compensation for a severely discounted medical bill or expense compared to what you thought you would have to pay.
This system is one reason why it is vital to work with a North Carolina personal injury lawyer. They can guide you through a valuation of your bills and bring in financial experts to speak on the accuracy of your statements.
4. They Entice You with Settlement Traps
Adjusters are pros at pressuring victims into accepting settlements early into the process. They can offer quick settlements, but they may employ other tactics as well.
For example, the company may offer a settlement without completely understanding your medical costs. They sell the offer as fast service to make your recovery easier. However, you end up left with more medical expenses than your compensation amount could ever cover.
There is also the possibility of ignoring medical liens. When you accept a settlement, you waive the right to collect on any other damages associated with this injury. That means if your damages are more serious, or you have not reported all of your medical bills, you’re out of luck.
Before discussing any settlement or accepting any form of compensation, you need to ensure that you are on the road to a full recovery. Wait for all of your medical bills to come in, and then carefully review what else you need in terms of compensation.
5. Dealing with Delays Can Hurt Your Case
A delay in seeking medical treatment can impact your payout. Adjusters will often tell you to wait a few days, but that may be enough to nullify your personal injury claim. The larger the gap, the bigger impact it will have on your ability to access compensation.
If you were in a minor car accident but you back hurt an adjuster may say that you have a right to see a doctor, but it’s probably nothing. They may even say to give it a few days that it may just be from stress. This is misguided advice on medical practice from an insurance adjuster. Don’t listen to anything that might delay your medical treatment.
Additionally, you may have trouble paying for treatment. Payment can cause delays, but you should speak with your medical team about payment plans and billing options.
6. Utilize Free Consultations
Many injury attorneys will provide a free consolation or case review. This opportunity allows you to learn more about the attorney and for them to learn more about your case. Even if you don’t hire an attorney, a consultation can give you insight into what to expect in your claim. There is no downside, and everyone should take advantage of this opportunity.
7. Serious Injuries Require Legal Guidance
It’s easy to see the association, the larger your medical bills, the more compensation you should expect. But as mentioned earlier, the more compensation you expect, the harder the insurance company will try to minimize their payout. That means that you need advice from an NC personal injury attorney.
Serious injuries that involve surgery, rehabilitation, or ongoing medical treatment will have many other facets. If you’re relying on your insurance that company will want payment for the medical services they’re providing.
Hospitals and health insurance companies can take out liens to ensure that they get their money first when a settlement happens. As often as an adjuster will dissuade you from seeking the help of a lawyer, you need one. When handling liens and multiple insurance companies, it’s hard to know who is or is not safe to talk to.
8. Avoid Volunteering Information to Your Adjuster
The final thing to consider is to avoid volunteering information. At some point, you will need to provide a statement. That statement can go through your attorney. Tell your attorney everything about the accident and the injury. Be open and candid with them so they can realistically know what to expect in your case.
On the other hand, be very careful with what you tell your insurance company. Even saying, “I’m sorry I have to go, we’re at the beach this weekend” can make it seem like your injuries aren’t serious. I mean if you’re going on vacation, you’re probably feeling pretty good, right?
Involving a lawyer can help you avoid these situations. Inform your adjuster that they can direct their questions to your attorney or that they can wait until you’re with your attorney to provide any answers.
Contact a North Carolina Personal Injury Attorney at Ted A. Greve & Associates Today
A North Carolina attorney can help you through your auto accident claim. As a personal injury case, your car crash will come with many obstacles to overcome. The law offices of Ted A. Greve and Associations can empower you and help you identify the strengths in your claim.
Too often, people fall prey to common insurance company tactics. These tactics make the insurance companies seem like the good guys, and in the end, you’re left without enough settlement money to cover your medical bills.
Make your fight fierce and contact Ted A. Greve and Associates for a consultation today. Learn the ins and outs of your case while preparing to recover the compensation that you need.