Do Insurance Companies Use Tricks To Lower Settlement Payments?
I was in a car crash a few months ago. The insurance company is pressuring me to give a recorded statement. The insurance adjuster says he cannot settle my accident claim without the recorded statement. What should I do?
This is a common “trick” used by many insurance companies when they are dealing with an accident victim who is not represented by an attorney. Insurance companies are in business to make money; therefore, they will do everything within their power to avoid paying large settlement claims. Insurance companies train their adjusters to handle claims in ways that can reduce or eliminate the accident victim’s claim. Individuals without an attorney often fall victim to these insurance tricks and receive less money than their claim is actually worth.
Insurance Tricks That Can Hurt Your Accident Claim
Recorded and/or Written Statements
Insurance adjusters move quickly to obtain a recorded and/or written statement from the accident victim before he or she can consult with a Fresno car accident attorney. The adjuster may claim that the company needs the statement to verify the facts of the case in order to issue a payment. In reality, the adjuster is trying to discover information the company can use to challenge your claim.
Anything you say can be used against you later in your case to try to deny your accident claim. You should consult with a personal injury attorney before providing any statement to the insurance company.
The second most common trick used by insurance companies are medical releases. The adjuster will explain that he needs a medical release to obtain your medical records from the accident to verify your injuries to pay your claim. This sounds reasonable and would be reasonable if the medical release is limited to information related to the accident.
However, many times the medical release will be a general release for all medical records. This gives the company access to you entire medical history so it can search for pre-existing conditions or accidents it can use to claim your current injuries are not related to the current accident. Do not sign any release, medical or otherwise, until you meet with an attorney.
The insurance company knowns you need money as soon as possible to pay your bills so if the insurance company delays long enough you might give in and accept a lowball offer. Another reason to drag their feet is the California statute of limitations. You only have a limited time to file a car accident lawsuit; therefore, if the insurance company can delay long enough you may run out of time to file your lawsuit if you do not consult with an attorney.
Implying You Do No Need An Attorney
While you do not need a personal injury attorney to settle a car accident claim, it is in your best interest to consult with an attorney before accepting any settlement. The insurance company does not want you to hire an attorney because it knows that the attorney will see through any insurance tricks and the attorney will know the true value of your case.
Furthermore, you must prove fault in order to receive compensation for your accident claim. Attorneys have experience conducting accident investigations to identify and preserve evidence that proves the other driver was at fault for your accident. Do not let the insurance company convince you that you do not need someone on your side who is working to protect your best interests. A study done by the Insurance Research Council found that accident victims receive settlement amounts up to three times as much when they hire an injury attorney, compared to those who fight the insurance company themselves.
Contact a Fresno, CA Car Accident Attorney Now!
If you were injured in a car accident, put our experience to work for you. Call Torem & Associates at (888) 500-5000 or use our convenient online contact form to schedule a free consultation with a Fresno Car Accident attorney. We will protect you from aggressive insurance companies — you deserve a fair and just settlement for your accident claim.