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After An Accident: Don’t Be Misled By Insurance Adjusters

Everyone knows accidents are sure to happen. To soften the blow, we think ahead and buy insurance, trusting insurance company promises that after an accident they will help pay our damages.

But do insurance companies keep their promise? What really happens after an accident, and what accident victims can do about it, is something everyone should know.

After a car or other accident, the victim usually makes a claim to an insurance company. Their goal is to get paid for medical bills, property damage and other losses. But the insurance company doesn’t make money by paying claims. They make money by not paying claims. So insurers often use tactics to avoid or delay paying valid claims. Here are some they use, and how you can avoid being a victim:

Gain public confidence with friendly slogans.

Insurance companies gain the public’s and your confidence by using friendly slogans like “You’re in good hands” or “Like a good neighbor.” They act as if they are working for you. Don’t let these slogans fool you. Insurance adjusters work for the insurance company, not you.

Advising you not to get a lawyer’s help with your claim.
Insurance adjusters know that accident victims who have a lawyer’s help receive more money (even the insurance industry’s own studies show this), so they try to persuade accident victims not to use a lawyer. If you are in an accident, don’t be misled by the insurance adjuster — know that no matter what he or she says, you will almost certainly receive more money if you have a lawyer’s help.

Misstating the scope or amount of insurance coverage.

Adjusters know that if you are unaware of how much money you’re entitled to receive under an insurance policy, you will likely settle for less money. So adjusters use the tactic of telling you the policy’s coverage is smaller than it really is. Don’t be fooled by this — consult your lawyer to see how much insurance money is truly available.

Investigating your claim slowly or not at all.

This increases the chances evidence will get lost or that by the time the adjuster finally responds to you, the statute of limitations on your claim will have expired. To avoid being victimized by this tactic, seek legal help promptly. This will help assure that all evidence is properly obtained and that your claim is filed within the appropriate time limits.

Offering unreasonably low settlements.

This tactic is simple. An insurance adjuster offers you only a small amount to settle your claim, believing you will probably just accept the amount offered, even though you are entitled to a much higher settlement. To avoid being misled by this tactic, don’t settle your claim without first consulting your lawyer. Your lawyer — who is truly on your side — is the best person to tell you all the different types of damages the law entitles you to receive and thus the fair value of your accident claim.

Misleading you about how long you have to make a claim.

Adjusters know that if they convince you too much time passed on your claim, you may accept a smaller settlement amount or give up your claim entirely.

These are just some of the misleading things insurance adjusters often say or do to get you to give up your claim or accept a lower settlement. To avoid being victimized by these tactics, you should have a lawyer’s help when dealing with an insurance company. Using a lawyer makes recovering damages easier, you will be informed of all your rights, and you’ll almost certainly receive more money.

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