What you’ll learn from reading this article:
- Common tactics insurance companies use to delay your claim
- How insurance companies benefit from these delays
- How to respond to their delay tactics
Most people think that insurance companies are there to help when we find ourselves in a prickly situation. In the case of personal injury claims, insurance ensures that the injured victim receives compensation for their injuries and any other damages sustained. Unfortunately, though insurance companies are responsible for paying victims when a claim is filed, they will often use whatever tactics they can to reduce the settlement amount.
Around 2 million injuries are reported annually as a result of traffic accidents. Of those millions, not all pursue personal injury claims or lawsuits. However, there are still enough to make insurance companies want to minimize payments as much as possible. One of the most common ways this is seen is through delay tactics.
Of course, this is incredibly frustrating for injured victims who are simply trying to get what they deserve in order to pay their medical bills and recover without having to worry about a lack of income from missing work. Having an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side in these situations is extremely beneficial. They know the ins and out of the legal procedures involved in personal injury cases and how best to fight insurance companies’ shady tactics.
Common Delay Tactics Insurance Companies Use to Minimize Payments
Before diving into how insurance companies profit or benefit from using these tactics, it’s first important to know how to recognize the tactics and when they are being used. Insurers will often use sympathetic wording to make it seem like they are on your side, making it hard to recognize when they are trying to take advantage by using delay tactics.
The following are typical ways insurers will try to delay your claim in an effort to minimize the settlement amount:
- Denying fault: Though it may seem apparent that you are the victim and the other driver is the guilty party, insurers will use whatever evidence they can to refute liability. They may not be able to entirely rule out the guilty driver’s part in causing the accident. Still, they will try to find ways to show how you were at least partially responsible yourself in an effort to reduce the amount owed to you.
- Asking for statements: Insurers will often call you as soon as possible in an attempt to show sympathy and help you with your situation. They may ask how you’re doing or if you need anything, but behind this supposed sympathy for your wellbeing is really an attempt to get you to accidentally admit something that could be used against you. Even if they admit that their client was at fault, you should never make any claims or statements about the accident or your wellbeing without first speaking to a lawyer.
- Requesting medical documentation: It might seem like standard procedure to provide medical information about your injuries, but doing so could harm your chances of getting proper and full compensation. Insurance companies will tell you that they simply need to see your medical files so they can understand the extent of your injuries to provide you with the compensation that you deserve. However, what they are actually doing is attempting to gain access to all of your medical records and personal information to use your past medical history against you.
- Offering a quick, reduced-amount settlement: Insurers know that the longer you are delayed in receiving benefits, the more you are put out. You need compensation to pay your medical bills, cover car repair costs, and cover any missed paychecks from being out of work. These are all things they will use to convince you to settle without drawing out the case or getting a lawyer involved. They may offer you what might seem like a fair sum upfront, but you never know what issues may come up down the road as a result of your injury. If you agree on a quick settlement, you miss out on the opportunity to get the full compensation that you deserve, and the insurance companies know this.
Why Insurance Companies Use Delay Tactics and How They Benefit
When insurance companies use these tactics, it is with one goal in mind — to line their own pockets by reducing the payment amount they have to give you. By using these tactics, they are attempting to gain your confidence and even confuse you. When you are frustrated or confused or feel like you can trust the insurer, you are more likely to give away information that could be used against you. You may even agree to things that will make the whole thing go away as quickly as possible. This is precisely what they want. They want you to think they care about you, and they want you to feel so flustered and frustrated by the delays that you will give up and agree to a reduced settlement amount.
Another reason insurance companies will try to delay the process is to run out the statute of limitations. Every claim and lawsuit must be filed and pursued within a certain amount of time. By delaying you, insurers are hoping that you will surpass the amount of time allowed to you, which will result in your inability to win your claim or file a lawsuit.
How to Respond to Delay Tactics
If you find yourself dealing with an insurance company that is using any of these tactics, you should seek the help of an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. If an insurer calls you asking questions, no matter how sympathetic and sincere they sound, just say that you cannot give them any information until you have spoken to your lawyer. They will likely try to convince you that a lawyer is unnecessary and will cost you a ton of money, but this is just another tactic they use to delay your claim.
Most personal injury attorneys collect little to no charges upfront and only get paid if you win your case. Even then, they often only collect a small percentage of the final settlement amount. Personal injury lawyers are there for the sole purpose of helping you win your case. They want you to receive fair treatment and full and proper compensation for any damages and injuries sustained. They work with you to guide you through the process because they understand how challenging it can be and how frustrating it is to deal with unethical insurance companies.
Poynter & Bucheri Accident Recovery — Indianapolis Personal Injury Attorneys
If you sustained injuries during an accident or have any questions about filing a claim, contact the accident recovery experts at Poynter & Bucheri. Our fee is only 25% compared to higher 40% rates with other attorneys. We will ensure you are properly compensated for your injuries and losses. Don’t hesitate — one of our experienced attorneys can assist you right away. Call 1-800-265-9881 for a free case review.
Hi, I’m Rich Bucheri from Poynter Bucheri. Today I want to talk about how delays benefit the insurance company. So many times insurance company are in a superior position when they are negotiating with somebody that for instance has been in a car accident, even if their insured is at fault because they have the opportunity to wait. They have time on their side, and they know that delays can actually make things more difficult on the other person who was not at fault. And because of that, they may be willing to take less than what they would normally have to be paid out if that person was able to be patient and go through the whole entire process.
For example, a lot of times what insurance companies will do is they will across the board try to attribute 20 or 30% at fault to the other person for every accident, no matter what the facts are. Even if their insured was the one that ran the red light or tried to pass on a double yellow or whatever the situation is, these insurance companies will as a matter of course try to find you at fault. And they will only offer you 70 or 80 cents on the dollar for your damages.
And what they know is that, hey, you need your car back. And if they don’t give you the money, then you’re not going to be able to get your car fixed. And so they use that economic pressure as leverage to get you to settle for less than what you’re owed. And the best thing that you can do in that situation is to contact an attorney because these attorneys know how to push back to that. And they know that not only can they get the full amount for the liability, as far as the percentage of liability, 100%, but that more than likely attorneys are going to be able to get more value for the damages that you had than you would if you were able to handle the case yourself.
And so it’s very important if you were getting that kind of pushback from the insurance company, if they’re delaying, delaying, delaying, and not communicating with you that you talk to an attorney to make sure that your rights are protected. If you have any questions, give us a call at Poynter Bucheri, accident recovery attorneys.