- They do not respond.
People expect the at-fault driver’s insurance to contact them and are surprised when they don’t. There is no follow-up and phone calls are not returned. This is very frustrating for people handling their own injury claims. What do you do when the adjuster ignores you?
Beware of this one. The longer the adjuster can delay, the better chance they have of settling the case down the road for peanuts. Why? Damaged cars have to be fixed, medical bills paid and lost income replaced. The longer it takes, the more desperate an unrepresented person will become. Most attorneys will not take a case that is close to the statute of limitations (FYI: Zachar Law Firm is not one of them). Insurance delays a person handling their own claim, because they don’t know what to do to stop it. As experienced personal injury trial lawyers, we do. Don’t let this happen.
- More information.
Another part of the delay tactic are constant requests for more information. The adjuster will say they can not make a decision until they all medical records. After provided, the adjuster will find moreinformation is needed in order to proceed, and so on… . The cycle may never end.
- Recorded Statements.
Often, a victim is told that the insurance adjuster cannot proceed unless they have a recorded statement. Good attorneys refuse to provide statements—knowing it is a trick. The adjuster is really just looking to record information they can use against you later. What should you say/not say? You really don’t know (but the adjuster does), and this puts you at an extreme disadvantage. These are calculated, to give the adjusterreasons to pay you less money later on. In truth, giving a recorded statement before you have hired an attorney is the #1 biggest mistake that people make. Once recorded, you cannot un-ring that bell.
- Implying you don’t need an attorney.
An adjuster will say something like “we accept responsibility“ or “our insured was at fault” and you assume that means that the adjuster will be fair and reasonable later. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is part of their design to pay out as little as possible on accident claims. If the adjuster goad a car accident victim to believe that they can handle the case on their own, without an attorney, the insurance company will surely pay less money on the case.
- Asking for a release of all your medical records
An insurance company will ask for medical records that pertain to the injury sustained in the accident. They have no right to make you sign an authorization to allow them to get them directly, but that is exactly what they do. The insurance company will ask for an unlimited release of medical records, not limited in time and do not pertain only to medical records related to the wreck, but rather ALL of your medical history. Surely, records more than 10 years prior to the accident are not relevant for anything—but they want them. And they will use them against you.
- Dispute and discount medical expenses.
Adjusters love to “disregard” or “disallow” medical expenses. Their excuses are amount was too much, the treatment was not needed, their “medical review” disallowed, etc… . The adjuster will always try to find issues with your medical treatment. This is a common trick in settlement negotiations.
- Settlement offers based upon copayments.
Accident victims who do not know Arizona law often receive offers based upon their out-of-pocket expenses only. In other words, if your health insurance company paid $4500 and your out-of-pocket expenses are only $500, the offer will be based upon the $500 cost to you---not the whole medical bill. This is contrary to Arizona law, but how would you know that? This trick allows an insurance company to settle cases for a fraction of their true value—because you did not know Arizona law before you settled your own case. Your injury claim is not limited to co-pays; it includes the full billing for your medical care, regardless whether paid by your health insurer or other. Insurance adjusters prey on those who don’t know the difference.
- Lowball offers.
Often, car accident victim are told that the insurance company is accepting responsibility for the accident, and mistakenly believes that they will get a reasonable offer. When insurance company says they “accept responsibility” that usually has nothing to do with the fairness of the offer. As a rule, for those not represented by experienced counsel, the offer is almost universally a joke. By the time people understand they need a lawyer; the insurance company has been employing the tricks listed in this article, and now they have information to really hurt your case. At this stage you can seek an attorney to help, but sometimes we can do little when the insurance company has had their way with you.
10.They spy on you.
In cases where there are serious physical injuries, an insurance company may hire an investigators to follow and obtain video of you after the accident. Investigators will locate you, follow you, sitting in parked cars down the road from your home with the hope of filming you doing something like playing with your children, dumping the garbage or mowing your yard. Insurance companies will tell their investigator that they suspect exaggeration of a claim, and with this premise, the investigator will set out to prove it. Unrepresented people do not know that and generally tell all, leaving themselves susceptible to this insurance company trick.
Insurance company adjusters are in the business to 1) deny your claim or 2) pay as little as possible, and will you these and other tricks to help them do just that. The truth is, you don’t know what to say/not to say, what to give/not to give or what to do/not to do, so why take a chance with your personal injury case? Questions? Call Zachar Law Firm. The call is always, so why not take some time to educate yourself before you decide to possibly do it on your own?
We hope all had a safe and happy new year. Happy 2018 everyone!!!