Ways Insurance Adjusters Deny Car Accident Claims and How to Fight Back
When we are in a car accident, the one saving grace we hope for is that the other driver’s insurance policy will cover our injuries. Paying out-of-pocket for medical treatment can easily bankrupt a person in the long run, even if you do have high-quality health insurance. That is why it can be incredibly distressing when you go to file a claim only to offer a tiny settlement from the insurance adjuster that hardly covers an ER visit, much less long-term treatment. You may assume that you have to accept their offer, but we at The Law Firm of Joseph H. Low IV are here to tell you that you can fight back and protect your right to proper and fair compensation after an auto accident.
Why Are Valid Claims Denied or Devalued?
The short answer is that insurance companies make more money when they deny claims. Their profits are based on the amount of money they pull in from all of their clients. If every single one of them is involved in a car accident, an insurance company would have to empty their pockets to pay out all the expenses. They often hope that none of their clients get involved in an accident and no one has to file a claim. But when someone does, it puts their profit margins at risk.
That doesn’t mean they deny every claim though. They are fully aware that an accident victim can take them to court if they deny a valid claim, which can be more expensive than the claim itself. So, instead of denying the claim, they offer a low settlement offer that is worth less than total coverage and any legal fees they would have to pay in court.
They also rely on the fact that accident victims are in desperate need of quick cash to cover medical bills or repairs to their vehicles. They will use that desperation to convince them that a low offer is the best they can get. But they also have other, more devious tactics.
Giving You the Cold Shoulder
Getting a hold of the insurance adjuster can be half the battle when filing a claim on your own. They are not above ignoring calls or emails in the hopes that you will get frustrated and give up. They may even act innocent when you do get ahold of them and then try to sweet talk you with a low offer. This is all done to cause you to get emotional or run out of the clock on when you can file a claim. Car accident claims have a two-year deadline in California, which may seem like a lot of time, but can quickly run out when you are healing.
Our tip? Lawyer up. Once the insurance adjuster knows that you have a qualified attorney handling your case, they will know you mean business and are prepared to take them to court. While they will still try to dodge questions, they will be on their toes throughout the entire ordeal.
Building a Case Against You
Just as you can use evidence such as police reports, medical records, and accident photos to support your claim, insurance adjusters will also try to dig up evidence to discredit your claim. This can include taking social media posts out of context, hiring investigators to follow you, and digging into your medical history to see if you have any pre-existing conditions. This is all done to show that your injuries are not as severe as you say they are or that they were caused by another incident. They may even take a missed doctor’s appointment or a picture of you at the gym to claim you are feeling better.
Our tip? Go dark social media, attend all of your doctor’s appointments and physical therapy sessions, and keep tight to your privacy rights. Insurance adjusters do not need to know about your personal life, and you do not have to share any details outside of the accident.
Asking for Recorded Statements
In lieu of a written testimony or your good word, the insurance adjuster may ask you to make a recorded statement. They can then piece apart your testimony in the hopes that you will admit to some mistake during the accident or devalued your own injuries.
Our tip? Never agree to a recording statement and let your attorney handle all communications. If the insurance adjuster demands a recorded statement, we can argue that they already have a police report, accident photos, witness testimonies, and expert opinions about the accident.
Demanding Medical Records
Insurance adjusters are skilled at picking apart medical records. If they get ahold of your records, they will go back years to find a previous injury, accident, or medical condition that they can then use to devalue your claim. They will try to argue that you had a pre-existing condition and that is where your pain is coming from. But they can only access your records with your signed consent, which means they will often send a consent form in a stack of papers. They hope that you won’t read these documents and will just sign away your rights.
Our tip? Do not sign a single document until your attorney has looked it over. If the insurance adjuster demands access to your medical records, have your attorney first review what documents will be sent over. While the insurance adjuster does need to see your medical reports from an ER visit or surgery, they certainly don’t need to know about your broken bone from five years ago.
But all of this is contingent on you contacting an attorney as soon as possible. At The Law Firm of Joseph H. Low IV, we often advise clients to speak to a California auto accident attorney before contacting an insurance company. That way we can combat the insurance adjuster’s underhanded tactics in advance and protect your right to compensation. But even if you have started talking to an insurance adjuster, we can swiftly begin taking steps to ensure your privacy is secured and that your case is properly handled. To get started on your claim and learn how you can recover compensation after a collision, contact The Law Firm of Joseph H. Low IV at (562) 901-0840 or toll-free at (888) 454-5569.