The costs associated with a car accident can leave you and your family reeling. How are you going to cover medical expenses? Are you going to be able to recoup your lost wages? Can you recover compensation for the emotional and psychological harm that you have experienced?
These are good questions, and the answers really depend on your circumstances. However, one of the first places that you’ll turn for help is either your insurance company or the insurance company of the driver who caused your wreck.
Although you might feel a sense of relief knowing that you have insurance policies to fall back on, the sad reality is that these insurance companies are usually looking for a way to get out of paying you what they owe you. After all, they’re in the business of making money and, in many instances, pleasing shareholders.
How do insurance companies try to gain the advantage?
Insurance companies are required to negotiate in good faith. However, they often implement tactics that try to get you to agree to something less than what you deserve. Here are some of the ways that they do that:
- Trying to probe you for damaging statements: An insurance adjuster is going to visit you at some point to assess the damages and your injuries. This individual may seem friendly enough, but they’re actually looking for any evidence that they can use to deny your claim or pay you less than you expect. Remember, your recovery is often tied to your amount of fault in causing the accident. So, regardless of how friendly an adjuster seems, carefully analyze their questions and think through your answers before responding.
- Trying to get you to make a written or recorded statement: The insurance company might get aggressive in trying to lock you into your statements. They often do this by asking or even implying that you’re required to provide a written statement. Before you address this matter, though, you’ll want to discuss the circumstances with an attorney who can help you avoid common mistakes that are made here.
- Trying to gain access to your medical records: An insurance company may ask you to sign an authorization to release medical records directly to them, which they’ll pitch as a way to make the claims process easier for you. However, if you sign one of these releases, the insurance company may be able to acquire all of your medical records, even those that have nothing to do with your accident injuries. This opens the door for the insurance company to pin your injuries on pre-existing conditions and, therefore, deny or minimize your claim.
- Trying to convince you to settle your claim quicky: An insurance company may offer you a settlement mere days after your accident. You might be tempted to jump on this offer so that you’ve got some financial resources to offset your losses, but the truth is that this offer is probably going to be far less than what you deserve. With that said, the insurance company may make statements that make you feel like you need to act quickly. Resist that urge, though, so that you don’t act contrary to your best interests.
Don’t get taken advantage of by aggressive insurance companies
There’s simply too much at stake in your case to risk being taken advantage of by an aggressive or tricky insurance company. That’s why it might be a good idea to have an advocate on your side who can help you identify problems and work to avoid them. Hopefully, you can achieve the settlement offer that you really need to offset your damages and that allows you to focus on your recovery.