You’ve been injured on the job, your medical bills are piling up, and you can’t pay them because you’ve missed work for a month due to your injury. The last thing you want messing up your already stressful life is to hear that your personal injury insurance claim has been denied. So, how and why did your request get rejected?
It’s important to remember that big insurance companies are only interested in their own profit. if that means denying you compensation for injury or illness on the job, they’ll say and do anything to scare or discourage you away from going through with the claim. How do you make sure your personal injury claim will be taken seriously and you are paid a justifiable compensation?
Read below to find some common ways insurance companies will try to weasel out of paying your personal injury claim.
Telling You Not to Lawyer Up
Many insurance companies will make it seem like you don’t need an attorney for your claim. This assertion couldn’t be further from the truth. You’ll want someone in your corner who understands how insurance companies work who won’t be intimidated and knows the language of insurance companies. Insurance adjusters are ruthless when it comes to the average person, and will lay many traps for you to fall into if you are trying to negotiate your claim with insurance companies. So it’s best for you to have a lawyer present to be able to prevent you from falling into these traps.
A telling sign that insurance adjusters don’t want you to lawyer up is that when you do, they’ll do their homework on your attorney. Insurance companies will track the competency and success rate of your lawyer to scale their payment accordingly — the more successful and experienced the attorney, the higher the settlement payout. Insurance adjusters will get away with anythingthey can, but if you have a lawyer present, it can significantly increase your chances of settling on the right price for your damages and avoid some of the many pitfalls below that the insurance company is hoping you fall prey to.
Asking For a Recorded Statement
It’s imperative that you be consistent in your account of your injuries and how they happened in your personal injury claim. Any inconsistencies can and will be used against you by the insurance companies. It is highly suggested that during your first doctor visit, you mention every injury you have. You’ll want to have everything out in the open when documenting your case.
It can be difficult to understand what happened to you immediately following your accident, and insurance companies know this. First, they will immediately try to get you on the phone for an account of what happened, and if you’ve left out one detail, an insurance adjuster can use it against you. Additionally, an insurance adjuster will ask, or threaten, you to come in for a recorded statement. Consult with a lawyer to determine if you have to or not, as this is not in your best interest. All an insurance adjuster is trying to do here is ask loaded questions and capitalize on your confusion.
Let’s say that your accident caused you significant pain in your ribs, while only minor pain in your knee. You might only be inclined to say that you have pain in your ribs, as it is the bigger problem to focus on at the moment. But later, as your ribs started healing, your knee is now becoming a problem and you mention it for the claim. If you left the detail out that your knee was also hurt to your doctor, on the phone, or for a recorded statement, and included it in the final report, an insurance adjuster would jump on this — saying that your story is inconsistent and that you may be lying about the whole thing.
Hollington Brown LLP stresses the importance of reporting a work related accident accuratelyand advises to, “(m)ake sure you also tell your employer exactly what happened to cause your injury. The insurance company will place a lot of weight on how and when you reported your injuries.” This confusion is a classic tactic to use your own words against you.
Insurance companies will drag their feet on processing your claim because they know there is a statute of limitations. After which, no legal action can be taken, and no compensation will be provided for your accident. Insurance companies will put off your case — saying they need more time to comb through the details. This discrepancy is where your attorney can step in and press them to process the claim.
Once an insurance company has stalled past the statute of limitations, they’ll deny your claim, and that’s that. They’ve successfully sidestepped your claim, and you receive no justice or compensation. It is crucial that you and your lawyer keep on the insurance companies to get your claim onto the negotiation stage.
Denying your claim is yet another tactic to intimidate or frustrate you into just giving up. If at any point you weren’t consistent in your story, an insurance company can devalue and deny your claim. Similar to procrastinating past the statute of limitations, the insurance companies are looking for you to get frustrated and give up on settling the claim. Essentially, the insurance company is calling your bluff on how confident your case is. Negotiating with insurance companies can be a hassle, but if you are truthful and honest, you will receive justice.
Prompting a Quick Settlement
Willingness to settle right away is a red flag that an insurance company knows that they are going to have to pay your claim. However, it is vital to navigate this situation with your lawyer because the insurance company will lowball you at this stage. The object here is that an insurance adjuster hopes you’ll take the fast and easy cash they dangle in front of you. It is a way for an insurance adjuster to swindle you into only paying you a fraction of what you should be owed. But keep in mind that if they are asking to settle before the claim goes to court, it means that they don’t want it to go to court — whether for PR or monetary reasons.
Whatever the reason, it is a bargaining chip for you. Consult with your attorney to negotiate a higher settlement price or go to court. Since the insurance companies don’t want to go to court, they’ll reluctantly accept. It’s easy to get distracted with a little bit of cash for a settlement, but if you stick in there and understand why they are asking for a quick agreement in the first place, it’s because the insurance adjuster knows they will have to pay. Hang in there for the amount you’re owed, and don’t let the insurance companies get away with paying you less.
In the chess game of negotiating your personal injury claim with the insurance companies, the insurance companies know that the average person is outmatched and will literally add insult to injury. But, if you know some of the strategies that insurance adjusters use, you won’t be taken advantage of and will receive the justice that you deserve. It wasn’t your fault that you were injured in an accident, why should you have to pay?
Author Info: Noah Rue is a writer, a digital nomad, and a graduate of the lessons of life (primary) and also the University of Idaho. These days, Noah teaches English as a second language in lovely Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and moonlights as a content strategist for an American based marketing company.