Deceptive Tactics Insurance Companies Use to Deny or Devalue Car Accident Claims
Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on Jan 06, 2020 in Car Accidents
Insurance adjusters may sound friendly when they call, but it is important to keep in mind they are working on behalf of the insurance company and they want to limit the amount of money they pay for a claim. They may use a variety of tactics to try to trick you into saying something that could devalue your claim.
At Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak, our South Bend car accident lawyers are well-versed in these tactics, and if we represent you, we are prepared to protect your interests and the value of your claim.
Ask for a Recorded Statement
After an accident, the insurance company often calls injured persons at home to try to catch them off-guard. The insurance adjuster may tell an accident victim he or she needs to provide a recorded statement and that it could help the insurance company process the claim faster.
However, a recorded statement may be used against you later to discredit you or devalue your claim. For example, this could happen if you casually remark that you are feeling fine when the adjuster asks how you are doing.
We strongly recommend that you do not provide a recorded statement before contacting a qualified attorney who can communicate with the insurance company on your behalf and protect your interests.
If you do talk to the insurance company, stick to the facts without providing information they can later use against you. For example, here are some safe responses to questions you may be asked by an insurance adjuster:
- “An accident happened on Saturday between my car and another vehicle.”
- “The cause is still being investigated.”
- “I suffered injuries, which a medical doctor will later describe for you.”
- “You can speak with my attorney if you want more information.”
Argue Your Injury was Pre-Existing
If the insurance company is unable to deny their policyholder’s liability, they may try denying that you were injured, stating that your injuries are not as serious as you reported, or they may argue that your condition was pre-existing.
However, even if you have a pre-existing injury, you may still pursue compensation for damages if that injury was aggravated or worsened by the accident, or if you suffered an unrelated injury.
Discredit Your Initial Statement
The insurance adjuster may try to lock you into a statement you made early on that is later discredited by new information. That is why it is so important to be cautious about what you say early on when the investigation is being conducted.
Say the Accident was Avoidable
The insurance adjuster may say that you have a duty to maintain control of your vehicle and that the accident was avoidable. The adjuster may argue the insurance company should not have to pay you any compensation.
Persuade You Not to Speak to a Lawyer
Another tactic insurance adjusters may use is to try to convince you to not speak to a lawyer. The insurance adjuster, who is acting on the part of the insurance company, may say that attorneys are expensive and that you will get more money from the insurance company without having to pay a lawyer.
However, what they neglect to tell you is that many personal injury claims in which accident victims are not represented by a lawyer result in much smaller settlements. Often, awarded settlements are significantly higher when victims are represented by a licensed attorney. Additionally, most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, so they only get paid if you recover compensation for your claim.
Seek an Experienced Attorney for Help
Seeking legal representation after being injured in a car accident is your right, and it can be beneficial to have an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side.
At Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak, we are prepared to protect the value of your potential claim. We can communicate with the insurance companies on your behalf while you focus on recovering.
We offer a free consultation to determine whether you may have a valid case, and since we operate on contingency, we charge no money up front to represent you. We only charge for our services if we obtain compensation on your behalf.
Contact us today to learn more about how we may be able to help. (844) 678-1800