4 Auto Insurance Company Tactics to Watch Out For
As a car accident victim, it’s important that you are aware that most car accident cases never see the inside of a courtroom, but rather are resolved through the insurance settlement process. This process involves the victims and the at-fault driver’s insurance company reaching an agreement where the insurance company pays the victim in return for a release from any further liability.
It’s critical to understand that insurance companies are for-profit entities, and they make their money by paying out as little as possible on every claim they receive. For this reason, it is highly advisable for every car accident victim to retain an attorney to represent them throughout the claim and settlement process. Here are some of the tactics that auto insurance companies use to get unrepresented victims to settle for less than their cases are actually worth.
Contacting You Immediately after the Accident
Insurance companies often try and reach out to victims in the first few days after an accident, hoping they have not yet had a chance to speak to an attorney. It’s very hard for people with legal training and experience to determine the value of their claim accurately, so insurance companies will often make unreasonably low settlement offers hoping that victims will just take them and move on.
Pressuring You to Provide a Recorded Statement
Sometimes, insurance company adjusters will tell victims that they need to obtain a recorded statement in order to “process” their claim or otherwise pressure them into providing one. The real reason that insurance companies want a recorded statement is that they want you to say something that can justify reducing your settlement offer or denying your claim completely. You should never provide a recorded statement to an insurance company without speaking to a lawyer first.
Requesting Overbroad Medical Record Authorizations
Another way that insurance companies try and minimize payouts or deny claims is by requesting overbroad medical record authorizations that allow them to root through victims’ entire medical history, looking for anything that could be used to classify an accident-related injury as a “pre-existing condition.” As a victim, you should always have a lawyer review a request to go through your medical records before signing it.
Misrepresenting Your Legal Rights
Finally, insurance companies may try and get victims to accept a lowball settlement offer by misrepresenting their legal rights. For example, an insurance company adjuster may tell you that you are not entitled to compensation for your pain & suffering under Missouri law, when in fact you are.
Call Bruntrager & Billings Today to Speak with a St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer
If you have been hurt in an accident caused by another driver, it’s important that you speak to an attorney as soon as you can – even if the insurance company wants to settle the case. To schedule a free case evaluation with a car accident attorney in St. Louis, call our office today at 314-636-0066 or contact us online.