Insurance companies are very good at their job. Like any business, they have a business model that centers around maximizing profit through premiums and minimizing payouts to their customers. Even though we need insurance and insurers provide a valuable service, some insurers take their profit models to worse extremes than others.
If you suffer an injury due to a car accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident, or other type of accident, and you seek compensation from the insurance company of the liable party, always remember this: you are a novice going up against experienced pros. You need some important knowledge in addition to an experienced attorney to protect yourself and your interests.
Watch out for these tactics from insurers to avoid getting tricked into accepting less of a settlement been you deserve. Insurance companies may:
1. Try get you to say something about your improving condition
Always remember that insurance adjusters are trained to ask questions that give the insurance company an advantage over you. They often read right from a script. They may call you back to check to see if your condition is improving and have you mention that you are feeling better or getting better. Later on, the insurer can use the fact that you told them you are feeling better as part of their reasoning to limit the settlement amount they offer. An insurance company may attempt to gain your trust in order to have you settle for a low payout amount.
2. Require you to sign an unlimited medical authorization
Avoid signing an unlimited medical authorization for the insurance company. This only gives them the right to search through your entire lifetime of medical records. From something in your records they may be able to argue that you injured yourself years ago which is now causing your current pain or physical problems.
3. Pressure you to settle immediately
If an insurance company puts pressure on you to settle immediately, beware. You will likely have to sign a release of claims as well. Once you cash that particular check, you will not be allowed to collect any more money from the insurer. If down the road you are forced to take off more time from work in order to recover, or if your medical bills increase more than expected, you will only be left with the original settlement.
Unless you know for sure the severity of your injuries, and how much you have lost and will lose financially, avoid being rushed into an early settlement. Also, avoid accepting a “nuisance offer” in which an insurer sends someone to your home unannounced with a settlement check in hand. Most likely, that check will be significantly less than what you have the right to obtain for your losses.
4. Pressure you to provide recorded statement
You are under no legal obligation to provide a recorded statement to the insurance company. During settlement negotiations or at a trial, anything you have said or will say can be used against you in your case.
5. Delay offering a settlement
The insurer may use delay tactics, such as telling you they are unable to get in touch with witnesses, the presiding police officer at your accident scene, or their customer (the other driver). They may tell you your claim is under review or that they need more proof about something in your case. Insurers understand how bills pile up for plaintiffs and they are able to take advantage of that to apply pressure upon you to accept a smaller settlement offer than you deserve.
Do not allow an adjuster to catch you off guard or pressure you right after your accident. In that condition, you may be shaken or on pain medications and have yet to consult with an attorney. Speak with your attorney first before responding to any settlement offer.
If you have suffered an injury in any type of accident, the Alabama personal injury attorneys at Mezrano Law Firm can fight aggressively on your behalf to help you obtain the compensation you are owed. To arrange a free case evaluation, give us a call today at 205.206.6300 or send us a message through our contact form. From our offices in Birmingham, Florence, Mobile, Tuscaloosa, Gadsden, and Montgomery, we serve clients throughout Alabama.