Insurance companies have spent hundreds of millions of dollars investigating and researching ways to save billions. They know the tricks of the trade to limit your recovery after you have been in a car accident. Knowing how to respond to these common insurance tactics is important to ensure you are fully recovered for your personal injury, wage loss, and vehicle property damage. Attorneys deal with car insurance companies every day and know the ins-and-outs of the insurance industry. Sometimes you can speak with an attorney quickly, but if you cannot, take precautions when dealing with the insurance company. They are never on your side.
Here are three common insurance tactics to be aware of:
Delaying or Ignoring the Claim – Typical motor vehicle accidents in Washington have a three-year statute of limitations, which means that minimal delays might not mean much. Nonetheless, car insurance companies will often ignore your calls, refuse to return your calls, or take other action to delay your claim. Their hope is that you will get frustrated with the process and give up. If the insurer can frustrate you into giving up your claim, then they save money not having to pay you. So, never give up. If you cannot get ahold of the adjuster, work with an attorney for best results or call that adjuster every day until they final respond.
Recorded Statements – Insurance adjusters often act professional at the beginning of the claim. They want to act like your best friend, so you are willing to do whatever they ask. Hint: insurance adjusters do not care about you or your claim. They only care about settling your case for as little as possible. Recorded statements are typically audio recorded phone calls used to trap unsuspecting injured drivers or passengers. Note – you may have a responsibility to give a recorded statement to your insurance company, but you do not have any duty to the at-fault driver’s insurer. Giving them a recording only leaves you open to giving information that might not help you or might box you in at a future point.
Low balling Settlement – A common tactic for insurance companies is to make you a sizable, yet ultimately diminutive settlement offer within the first few days or week after the accident. Maybe they send you a check for $1,000 and say – “it can be yours if you sign this release agreement.” If you sign that check and release, you get $1,000 today, but if you end up more injured than you think, that $1,000 will prevent you from any future settlement. Even with attorneys, insurance companies will lowball. Sometimes, these disagreements in evaluation are worked out and the case settles. If not, filing a lawsuit might be your best option to show the insurance company that you are serious. Oftentimes, even just filing your lawsuit might be enough to change their attitude.
If you find yourself struggling to deal with the car insurance company after a motor vehicle accident, remember that everything you say to insurance companies will affect your claim. Working with an experienced personal injury attorney is the best way to ensure your rights are protected. The litigators at the law offices of Magnuson Lowell, P.S. have been practicing personal injury for more than 30-years. Call today for a free case evaluation!