Personal injury events can happen in many ways. Whether resolved in negotiations with an insurance company or pursued through the court system, personal injury claims exist to provide a mechanism whereby individuals who are injured through someone else’s action or inaction have a means to achieve compensation for the damages they have suffered and the losses they have endured. While some personal injury claims are settled expeditiously, the reality is that getting to a settlement can be very difficult for several reasons, with insurance company tactics ranking among the most pervasive and impactful. Dealing with the insurance adjuster assigned to your personal injury case can be complicated, so if you would like support in your negotiations with the insurance company and assistance throughout every single step in the personal injury claims process, call a Rolla, MO personal injury attorney at Steelman Gaunt Crowley today at (573) 341-8336.
Why Do Insurance Adjusters Work Against Claimants?
Insurance companies have an obvious interest in limiting the amounts they pay in personal injury claims, and their techniques can often be confusing to unsuspecting claimants. Understanding some of the common tactics used by insurance companies can help victims of injury accidents to steer clear of any attempts at misdirection or undervaluation of their claims.
Insurance adjusters are trained to sound sweet and compassionate when they are talking with claimants. They typically aim to strike an empathetic tone as a strategic move, because doing so may lead to the claimant feeling a connection to the adjuster. This feeling of connection could in turn cause the claimant to be more open to trusting the adjuster, and increase the claimant’s desire to appear cooperative, sometimes at their own expense. Especially when a claimant is injured and has just left a shocking and jarring injury accident, they can be quite vulnerable and unable to think clearly. This is the prime window of time for an insurance adjuster to connect with an accident victim.
If an insurance adjuster can maximize on a distraught and emotionally traumatized claimant, they have a greater chance of employing their tactics successfully. The goal of this strategy in many cases is to get the claimant to accept a quick settlement that is much lower than they might be eligible to receive based on the available facts about the incident, or to get them to abandon their claim altogether because they are being outright denied.
Insurance companies are tactical with their approach because the ultimate goal is to reduce the number of payouts the company makes as well as the amount paid on each accepted claim. The insurance adjuster’s primary responsibility is to the bottom line of the insurance company they work for, rather than to the interests of the claimant.
Top Insurance Defense Tactics You May Encounter
Car accidents are among the most common reasons why individuals file personal injury claims. This prevalence is understandable, as there are millions of car accidents that happen annually in the United States. Car accidents can produce minor injuries, catastrophic injuries, or the most devastating outcomes. The amount of compensation a claimant may secure in a successful claim is typically related to the damages incurred as a result of the accident. When a driver’s negligence causes a car accident that results in a fatality, a personal injury claim is no longer applicable, but the deceased accident victim’s surviving family members may file a wrongful death claim.
According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), in 2021, there were 39,508 deadly crashes. These fatal accidents resulted in 42,939 lives lost. Given these numbers, insurance companies obviously have a compelling financial interest in limiting the number of claims they approve at first glance, as well as in offering the smallest payouts their teams estimate may be accepted. Engaging in insurance company tactics can potentially save the company money, and in return, increase its profits. This is always their goal. After a personal injury event look out for these dishonest maneuvers an insurance agent may try:
Getting an Admission of Fault
Conversations with insurance agents are often recorded. What a claimant says can impact their claim and ability to recover financial compensation. One common goal of insurance adjusters in these conversations is to get a claimant to admit they shared fault in causing their injury accident. Doing so can give the insurance company the ammunition it needs to devalue or deny the submitted claim.
Explain That Injuries Were Pre-Existing
An agent may explain to a claimant that their medical expenses will not be paid for a particular injury because the injury was pre-existing. Essentially, in this scenario the insurance company is asserting that the injury was not related to the accident, and that the claimant had the injury before the accident and so medical expenses related to its treatment would not be covered in a claim.
Shifting Blame for Injuries to the Victim
After an injury accident, the injured person should seek care from a medical professional as soon as possible. Delays in seeking medical treatment can give insurance adjusters cover to shift the blame to the victim for causing their injuries and for the severity of the injuries.
Holding Back Critical Information About an Accident
An insurance company will typically carry out an investigation into a claim. During their examination of the event, they may find information that would benefit the claimant. However, do not expect them to easily hand this critical information over, as voluntarily notifying the claimant is not typically in the company’s best interest. In many cases, insurance companies will hold back such information to achieve their goals of avoiding payment or reducing payment for a claim. An attorney at Steelman Gaunt Crowley may be able to advise you if you suspect you may be encountering this tactic.
Insurance companies will sometimes try to frustrate claimants and discourage them from seeing their claim through to the end. To aid in these efforts, companies will in some cases prolong the claims approval process. The thought here is that if a claimant has to deal with a stressful claims process that seems as if it might be never-ending, they may be more susceptible to accepting an offer that limits their total compensation and therefore reduces the insurance company’s expenses related to the claim.
Speak With a Missouri Personal Injury Attorney Today
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that there are over 24 million emergency room visits every year in the U.S. due to unintentional injury events. Many of these are the result of a personal injury incident. Slip and fall accidents, car accidents, medical malpractice events, and defective products are just a few of the scenarios in which one person may be injured by the negligence or reckless errors of another party. Insurance adjusters are always ready and prepared to counter claimants when an injury accident happens using cost-reducing insurance company tactics to get to an outcome that favors the insurance company over the claimant. You do not have to manage an insurance adjuster by yourself. For assistance with a personal injury claim, call a personal injury attorney with Steelman Gaunt Crowley at (573) 341-8336.