It’s difficult to convey the many pressures car crash victims feel under to somebody whose life has not been turned upside down by a wreck. You may be in pain and your car is totaled. You are losing income by missing weeks off work. You are short of cash. Dealing with the insurance company is a further headache. To make matters worse, insurance company tricks after a car wreck may deprive you of the money you are entitled to.
Dealing with the insurance company of the at-fault driver is fraught with dangers. If you have been seriously injured, you should consider hiring a lawyer. There is a real danger you will lose out if you deal directly with an insurance company.
At the Smith Law Center, we have been helping people who were hurt in auto crashes for almost seven decades. Insurance companies have changed a lot in that time, but insurance company tricks haven’t. Contact us if you have been hurt in a car crash and need help in dealing with the insurance company.
Common Insurance Company Tricks After a Virginia Car Accident
Insurance companies have many tricks designed to lower your settlement or to deny your claim. Here are some of them.
1 Failing to Meet All Emergency Room Costs
Often an insurance company will question the cost of a patient’s treatment from the outset. The insurer may claim a CAT scan or an X-ray was unnecessary. This makes little sense because these procedures are usually ordered by a doctor and a patient has little control over them. A personal injury lawyer will fight the denial of these claims.
2 Offering Fast Cash in Exchange for the Signing of a Release
The insurance staff know when accident victims are in a dire situation and want cash fast. If you suffered a serious injury, your medical bills will stack up fast. You may not be able to work, and with no money coming in and a long recovery ahead, financial stress can build fast.
The insurance company knows persuading you to settle when you are at your most vulnerable means you may accept the bare minimum. Taking the money can be tempting before the full extent of your injuries is known. However, accepting an early offer is usually a mistake. You may experience complications later. You may require additional surgeries and further medical treatment.
If you sign a release before the extent of your injuries are known, you can’t resume your claim later if you are hit with complications. Never settle for fast cash.
3 Asking You for a Recorded Statement
Often the other side’s insurance company will ask you to make a recorded statement about the accident. This is a common trick. The insurance adjuster may be very polite and tell you a recorded statement will help the process. You are not obliged to make a recorded statement and it is unlikely to be in your benefit to do so.
Anything you say to the insurance company is likely to be used against you later if you hire a lawyer and file a personal injury claim to seek fair compensation for your injuries.
You should not talk to the insurance company for the other side. Contact a lawyer first and let the attorney carry out the negotiations.
4 Identifying Gaps in a Patient’s Treatment
Insurance companies will often argue car accident victims had glaring gaps in their treatment to downplay the seriousness of their injuries.
The insurance company will highlight any delay in seeking treatment. The insurance company is unlikely to care that you were trying to keep your health insurance bills down. Alternatively, an insurance company may highlight spurious gaps in a car accident victim’s treatment such as during the holidays. You might not be able to get an immediate appointment with a doctor. We have known insurance company adjusters to say this amounted to a gap in treatment.
5 Claiming You Had a Pre-Existing Condition Before a Car Wreck
It’s not uncommon for an insurance company to claim you are seeking compensation for injuries you suffered before the crash. The insurance company may claim the underlying problem was an old sports injury, for example.
Even if you did have a pre-existing condition, it doesn’t mean you have no grounds to file a case. A new car accident often aggravates a preexisting condition and makes it worse.
6 Subjecting You to Endless Delays
Although insurance companies have a responsibility to help people involved in an accident in a timely manner, they often drag out cases. There is a wide range of stalling tactics used by some companies.
Some common delay explanations used by an insurance adjuster include:
- Their investigation is continuing.
- The company needs to confirm your coverage.
- They need additional information from you.
In some cases, they may assign your case to a different adjuster or start it over. The rationale is people hurt in accidents sometimes get frustrated and settle for a low ball offer.
Contact an Experienced Virginia Trial Lawyer To Counter Insurance Company Tricks After a Car Wreck
A Virginia trial lawyer is prepared to take your case all the way to court where verdicts may be considerably higher than an insurer’s offer. The experienced attorneys at the Smith Law Center are dedicated to the wellbeing of car accident victims and to getting them what they deserve. See our auto accident injury case results from Virginia and elsewhere. Please call our attorneys for the injured at 757.244.7000.