Know Your Worth: How Insurance Companies Offer Low Settlements
No one likes dealing with insurance companies or reading through the complex legal language that make up insurance policies. They are often extremely complicated, use vague or ultra-specific wording, and are hardly accessible to the everyday reader. This is done on purpose to keep accidents victims from pursuing a claim and it can be very successful.
Ultimately, no one wants to have to contact an insurance company. We like to treat is as an invisible safety net for injuries that will never happen. But when we do collide with that net, we often find that insurance companies are readily prepared to simplify our wounds or dismiss our claims.
Why the Insurance Adjuster Is Not Your Friend
Insurance adjusters may appear as compassionate representatives of insurance companies who will claim they have your best interests at heart, but that’s not really the case. They are, at the end of the day, serving a corporate profit line and will try to put victims of tragic accidents at ease only to get them to accept a low settlement offer or slip up and admit fault, even when they are not to blame.
Some of the tactics that insurance adjusters use include:
Friendly Demeanors: Insurance adjusters are hired for their ability to put victims at ease. This can be through small-talk to make it appear that they understand what you are going through, promises to process your claim quickly, apologies for what has happened, and even offers to increase your settlement offer by a few thousands. This is all done to get you to settle as quickly as possible and avoiding drawing out the claim’s process.
Recorded Statements: At some point you may be required to make a statement about the accident and your injuries, but it is better to do it on your own terms. Insurance adjusters like to do them early on before you fully understand the extent of your injuries. That way, when those injuries present themselves, they can point to your initial statement and say that you said you felt fine.
Second Opinions: Your initial medical report and follow-up appointments are critical to establishing how badly an accident has affected you. However, insurance adjusters may try to pressure you into attending an independent medical evaluation (IME), stating that they need more information about your injuries or that they want you to speak to a specialist. Often, these doctors are paid for by the insurance companies and will try to discredit your injuries.
Using Out of Context Evidence: Social media can be the unfortunate downfall of many accident victim’s claims. An adjuster, or one of their investigators, may review your posts on Instagram or Facebook to find evidence against your claim This could be a photo of you having a drink at a party the night of your accident, a selfie at the gym, or even a vague post about your outfit of the day. Because these posts do not have context, adjusters will make up their own, either to demonstrate that your choices led to the accident or that the accident hasn’t caused serious harm, such if you are able to go to the gym or even appear completely fine.
Shifting Blame: A common tactic is to make it appear like a victim caused an accident. This can be done through a recorded statement or by trying to get you to slip up during a conversation about your driving record. They may argue that you should have been able to break early enough to avoid being T-boned by a truck or made eye-contact with an oncoming driver when you were crossing the street. Sometimes these arguments may seem ridiculous, but they can keep pushing at your doubts to leave you feeling unsure of yourself or confused about what really happened.
What an Attorney Can Do for You
The LA County attorneys at Aghabegian & Associates, PC know first-hand how insurance companies will try to discredit car accident victims and lowball our clients. That is why we advise clients to let us handle all communications with insurance companies and focus on keeping your statements consistent. Our goal, at the end of the day, is to ensure you do not get taken advantage of with a small settlement. Instead, we will outline a settlement package that accounts for all your injuries, lost wages, and pain and suffering because of the accident, and we will hold insurance companies to that price.
In addition, we will work with your doctors to ensure you get reviewed by impartial medical experts and specialists who are focused on treating your injuries rather than discredit them. If you do choose to attend an IME, we can also come along to act as your representative and ensure that the attending physician is being thorough and unbiased.
While we focus on negotiations on your behalf and collecting the relevant evidence for your case, there are steps you can take to keep insurance adjusters from manipulating the case against you. Setting all your social media accounts to private or taking them temporarily offline can be a huge roadblock for investigators looking for out of context photos or videos. You can also ask friends and family to avoid posting about you during the claims process, just in case the investigator is looking at their posts as well.
Personal injury claims can be tricky to handle at first for new clients, but our legal team at Aghabegian & Associates, PC is fully capable of guiding you through the process and out the other side to proper compensation. If you have been in an accident and suffered an injury because of someone else’s actions, do not go it online. Call our offices at (818) 507-4311 to schedule a free consultation with a Glendale personal injury attorney.