Insurance companies have numerous time-honored tricks that you can expect anytime that you are dealing with them. These companies are for-profit businesses, and their goal is to earn as much money as they can. The less they pay out in settlements, the more of their premiums they can keep invested in the stock market and earning money. Here are some of the things that they can do to make your life more difficult, to wear you down, and take their low offer.
Dragging Out Your Claim
Insurance companies know that you are in a desperate financial situation in the aftermath of the accident. They have the one thing that you need; money. They will try to make it as hard as possible for you to get it. The longer they can drag out your claims process, the more of a tough situation that you will face because your bills are coming due. This could make you more likely to settle at a point where the insurance company is offering less than you deserve.
They may take more time to review your claim and handle your case more slowly. They could sit on your demand letter before giving you a response. An insurance company may even request more and more documentation, so they can lengthen the process. They know that you may be missing work with bill collectors calling you, and they try to take full advantage of it. They are in no hurry when you are because you need money. There is definitely a disparity in bargaining positions, and they try to take full advantage of it because time is on their side far more than yours.
Making Initial Low Offers
One of the ways that an insurance company hurts you is by starting very low on their settlement offers. This means that you will need to exchange multiple rounds of figures before you even get into the right ballpark for settlement. By that time, your financial situation may become far worse, and you will grow increasingly desperate.
You can never assume that you are going to get an initial offer from the insurance company that is worth anywhere near the value of your claim. They view this as a negotiation, and they never make their best offer first. Their initial very low offer may be psychologically conditioning you to view getting even slightly more money as a big victory that you will rush to claim. When they appear to begrudgingly concede to pay you more, they really know that they have far more room than that. In the meantime, the insurance company would be figuratively laughing all the way to the bank. This is all part of a negotiation game that they play. Having an attorney would make you wise to this tactic because lawyers see it all the time.
Taking Advantage of Better Information
The truth is that insurance companies know the value of your claim down to the exact dollar. They have armies of adjusters and statisticians that study claims from both your area and across the country. They are betting on the fact that you do not know the true worth of your claim and that you will settle for less. In many cases, they win that bet because some claimants do not take their own steps to get better information. You cannot effectively negotiate with someone else who has far superior information because they will take advantage of it every time.
The way that you can level the playing field is to hire an attorney who also knows the value of your claim. Lawyers work with car accident claims every day, and they can properly value all of the elements. This way, when the insurance company is trying to make you a low offer, your lawyer will be able to tell you that the offer does not fully compensate you and recommend an amount with which you can counter.
Try to Undercut Your Claim
Insurance companies will try to get any information from you that they can to use against you. This includes things that could undercut the merits of your claim (on liability) and the damages that you have suffered.
The first thing that they will try is to try to catch you saying something that contradicts your own story. For example, they may try to call you and get you to make admissions about the accident. This could cut your recovery by putting you in a position where you are judged contributorily negligent. All it takes is one question that catches you unaware, and they have information on the record that they can use. Insurance companies are known for taking simple information out of context to get out of paying.
Then, they may try to gather information that could contradict your claim for damages. This may include checking your social media to see if there are any posts that tell a different story than you. They may even call you and ask you how you are doing. If the answer is “fine,” they could dispute your lost wages and pain and suffering claims. They are looking for any arguments that they can make that your damages are less than claimed as an excuse to pay you less.
Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a New Orleans Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident, do not fall prey to the insurance company and its games. You can hire someone to fight on your behalf against these businesses that seek to deny your legal rights. Contact the experienced attorneys at Egenburg Trial Lawyers online or call us at (504) 229-5700 to schedule your free initial consultation. We have a track record of delivering results for injured clients who depend on their accident compensation. Without an aggressive attorney on your side, you could end up settling your case for far less than it is worth, if you are even able to receive a settlement at all.