Tactics used by Insurance Companies during an Injury Case
When someone is injured in an accident that was caused by the negligence or reckless actions of another party, there is a good chance they will have to pursue compensation through the other party’s insurance carrier. This begins by filing a claim with the insurer, which initiates the entire process. After a claim is filed, the injured party will most likely be dealing with the insurance claims adjuster.
It is important to understand that the insurance adjuster’s interests are not aligned with yours. You want and deserve to be fully compensated for your injuries. The insurance adjuster’s employer wants to mitigate their losses by minimizing the amount paid out for the claim. This is true, by the way, even if you are dealing with your own insurance company’s adjuster (which is common in cases where the responsible party was uninsured or underinsured).
Insurers have all kinds of strategies and approaches they use to accomplish their goal of paying out as little as possible. Here are some of the common tactics used by insurance companies during an injury case:
- Calling the injured party right away after a claim is filed
Right after an injury, the injured party is shaken up and trying to get organized. They may not know the extent of their injuries, and they might not have gotten in touch with a lawyer yet. This is one of the reasons insurance adjusters often call claimants right away. They will usually be very friendly on this call, asking how you are doing, wishing you well, and providing general assurances that you will be taken care of. The main purpose of this call is to build rapport with you and earn your trust. A secondary purpose is to contact you at a time when you might let your guard down and admit to some fault for the incident. No matter how friendly adjusters are, you must remember, as mentioned earlier, that they work for the insurance company, and that is where their loyalties lie.
- Requesting a recorded statement from the injured party
Shortly after the claim is filed, you might be asked to provide a recorded or written statement about what happened. This might seem like a reasonable request, and the adjuster may imply that this is necessary to get your claim processed in a timely manner. It is generally not a good idea to provide these types of statements, especially if you do not yet know how badly you were injured, how much medical treatment you will require, and other important details. Do not provide a statement unless you are advised by your attorney to do so. Just be polite and let the adjuster know that you are not comfortable providing a statement at this time.
- Making a quick settlement offer for lower than the claim is worth
After an injury, medical bills start to pile up, and time missed from work tends to put a financial strain on the whole household. This puts injury victims in a vulnerable position in which they are often very motivated to get paid quickly. Insurance adjusters know this, and they often seek to capitalize on this situation by making a lowball settlement offer shortly after the claim is filed. In exchange, they will usually ask you to sign a release or provide a verbal release of the claim. It is generally not a good idea to accept the first offer the insurance company gives you, because it is likely to be far less than your claim is worth. And again, if you do not know the extent of your injuries, then this is not the time to settle your case.
- Full or partial denial of liability for the injury
The insurer will likely look for reasons they can use as a basis to claim that the injury victim is at least partially at-fault for the incident. Florida is a pure comparative negligence state. This means that if the insurance company can pin some of the blame on you, they can reduce the value of the claim in proportion to the percentage you are determined to be at-fault.
- Implying that you are better off not hiring an attorney
Oftentimes, insurance adjusters try to give claimants the impression that they do not need a lawyer to process the claim. They may say something like, “you can hire a lawyer if you want, but this will not change the amount your settlement is worth.” This statement is only partially true. Yes, there is a certain amount that your claim is worth, but you are far less likely to be offered full and fair compensation without an attorney. There are a number of reasons why this is true.
First of all, insurance adjusters are professional negotiators that deal with insurance claims all day long. Unless you are also a seasoned negotiator, you have an inherent disadvantage when you deal with an adjuster. Secondly, if you are not working with an attorney, the adjuster is fairly certain you will not take the case to trial. This takes away a lot of leverage and gives the adjuster far less incentive to offer a fair settlement.
Speak to a Seasoned Florida Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured because of the reckless acts or omissions of another party, dealing with the insurance adjuster can be highly stressful. At Whibbs Stone & Barnett, we have extensive experience representing victims of personal injuries in the Florida Panhandle. We are skilled litigators and strong negotiators. Whenever possible, we seek to negotiate a full and fair settlement with the insurance adjuster. If the other side is not willing to be reasonable, however, we are ready and able to aggressively pursue your claim at trial and upon appeal.
For a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, call us today at 1-888-219-4561, or you may send a secure and confidential message through our web contact form.