After you’ve been in an accident, you have to remember that the insurance company is a business who’s trying to make money, and therefore means they’re generally trying to figure out a way to pay you as little as possible. Whether you were in a car accident, a slip and fall, a truck accident, or another type of personal injury incident, any delay in settling your case could benefit the insurance company, not you.
With that in mind, if you’ve been hurt, it’s in your best interest to work with an experienced attorney who’s seen countless cases similar to yours. They’ll know how to take on the insurance company, but you should still be aware of any tactics they may try to use against you.
Keep reading to learn more about the top 12 tactics insurance companies use that could ultimately cost you money.
1. Not Calling Within a Week of Your Accident or Avoiding Your Calls
If you don’t hear from an adjuster within one week of the accident, it could mean that the company is understaffed, ignoring your claim, or that the other party wasn’t insured after all. In the event a week passes without hearing from an insurance adjuster, or if they won’t call you back, the insurance company may be engaging in unfair claims settlement practices.
2. They Avoid Putting Anything in Writing & Refuse to Tell You Policy Limits
When communicating with an insurance adjuster, you should insist that they provide you with a letter identifying themselves and their company that also indicates whether the company provided coverage for the wrongdoer on the day of the accident.
Additionally, any and all settlement offers regarding your case should be in writing. Specific details of verbal settlement offers are easily forgotten by the adjuster.
3. The Adjuster Wants to Record You
Don’t let anyone record you.
You should talk to a lawyer first before giving a statement. Most adjusters already know how the crash occurred based upon the police report, witness statements, and the wrongdoer’s report.
The adjuster may want to record your statement just to get you to say something that could hurt your claim. A recorded statement can be used as evidence against you!
4. The Adjuster Won’t Confirm That Their Client Is the At-Fault Party
When it comes to settling a case, it’s important to make sure it’s clear who’s been determined as the at-fault party. If the insurance adjuster is avoiding this, you should request a letter stating that the person his company insures was at fault and caused the incident.
If the adjuster does not believe that his insured was completely at fault, request that the adjuster explain, in writing, why you or someone else are partially at fault. To avoid confusion, you should contact an experienced attorney for any questions about comparative fault laws in Indiana.
5. They Show Up at Your Home Unannounced
If the insurance adjuster shows up at your home without an appointment, you should be concerned. The purpose of such a visit could be an attempt to catch you doing something that hurts your case or shows that you are not injured. Don’t discuss your case, and tell the adjuster to call back for an appointment.
6. The Adjuster Tries to Tell You That You Don’t Need a Lawyer
If the insurance adjuster tries to tell you you do not need a lawyer, or if they tell you not to obtain legal advice, you should proceed with caution. The adjuster may not want you to know the true value of your case. Be careful… you could lose between $25,000 and $75,000. We recommend working with an experienced attorney in any personal injury case to make sure you’re treated fairly and receive the compensation you deserve.
7. The Adjuster Wants you to Sign a Written Medical Release or Use Their Doctor
This can be tricky. Most insurance companies want you to sign a “general wide-open release.” We recommend calling a lawyer before signing anything. You may be signing away valuable legal rights, and it never hurts to get a professional opinion.
You should also talk to your attorney before being examined by the insurance company’s doctor, also known as an independent medical exam (IME). There are some legal traps that you should know how to avoid, and that’s what your lawyer is there for.
8. The Insurance Company is Talking to Your Friends & Family
If the adjuster or the insurance company investigator is asking questions about you to your neighbors, employer, co-workers, friends or doctors without your permission, or conducting video surveillance on you, it’s best to get in touch with an attorney.
9. Making You Feel Guilty
The adjuster may say something to you hoping you will feel sorry for the wrongdoer. The insurance company counts on your forgiveness and guilt. Never feel guilty about being compensated for your pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical bills.
10. Intentionally Delaying Your Case
There are a few ways the insurance adjuster may try to delay your case in hopes of paying out a lower settlement:
- Asking for more medical records even if you’ve already provided some. Insurance companies know it takes time to acquire these records and they’ll use that to their advantage.
- Telling you they need to speak to a supervisor, who has higher settlement authority, in order to offer you more money. They’re likely hoping you’ll take the smaller amount instead of waiting weeks or months to get a small increase.
- Transferring your case to a different adjuster. This can delay your case as the new adjuster will have to familiarize themselves with your case.
- “Hiding the ball.” This is when insurance adjusters won’t volunteer anything to help you understand your insurance coverage. You may have thousands of dollars coming to you from your underinsurance coverage. If you need help understanding your policy and the rights you have, contact your attorney.
- Telling you your claim needs to go through a “committee” before you can receive compensation. In this case, it’s likely that the adjuster is just buying time.
- Hoping you will die. If you are elderly, the insurance adjuster might decide to stall instead of processing your claim, hoping you may die before they have to pay you. They are only interested in money and profits. (You will be surprised how many times this strategy is used by the insurance companies.)
11. Car Damage… Calling In The Rental Car
If your car has been wrecked and it cannot be repaired, your car will be considered “totaled”. A common tactic for the insurance company is to put you into a rental car immediately. Then several days later they will make you a very low offer of settlement for your car.
At the same time they make their offer of settlement, they demand that you return the rental car within the next 48 hours. A lot of people have no choice but to say yes to the low offer for their car. Many times, the car is worth a lot more than what is being offered.
12. Relying on the “Wait and See” Strategy
The adjusters know that a lot of people use the “wait and see” strategy to see if the insurance company will make a fair offer. Often, they believe that if they can stall you long enough and you start to feel the pressure of falling behind on your bills, then you most likely will accept a lower settlement out of desperation. Waiting it out can be the insurance adjuster’s biggest weapon against you.
When In Doubt, Contact The Ken Nunn Law Firm
Before you accept a smaller settlement than you’re owed, it’s in your best interest to talk with an experienced lawyer like Attorney Ken Nunn. We’ve been representing injured people in Indiana for decades, and we want to help you, too.
Don’t let the insurance company deceive you. If you’ve been injured, you have a right to full compensation. The more you know about your legal rights, the better advocate you are for yourself and those around you.
Get in touch with our team today and learn more about the rights you’re owed.