There are some common tactics insurance companies use to have your personal injury claim denied. If you suffer an injury after an accident, you have every right to seek damages from the responsible party. When attempting to recover damages, you’ll present evidence indicating that the defendant — the person you file against — is liable for your injuries.
Unfortunately, the defendant’s insurance company will do everything they can to avoid paying you the full compensation you deserve for your injuries. It’s important to remember that insurance companies are private businesses looking to save money, so they work to have injured individuals’ insurance denied or reduce the value of their claims.
Blame the Plaintiff
A defendant’s insurance company will try to blame you for the accident to reduce or deny your claim. They’ll bring your claim into question by reviewing the police report and will likely conduct a thorough investigation that partially or fully blames you for the accident.
California uses a comparative negligence system, meaning that a driver can be partially at fault and still recover damages. When two or more drivers are involved in an accident, the police may assign each driver a percentage of the blame.
Drivers can still file a claim even if they receive a percentage of the blame, but this reduces the amount they can recover. For example, if a driver is 20% liable, that reduces the amount they can recover in damages by 20%.
When insurance companies push part of the blame onto the plaintiff, they reduce the amount of damages they’ll need to pay
Questioning the Severity of Damages
Another way that insurance companies avoid paying victims is by claiming that their injuries aren’t serious. Insurance companies sometimes try to argue that a victim’s injuries don’t require extensive treatment, and they do this because they have to reimburse the victim for their medical bills.
After filing your personal injury claim, the insurance company may require you to receive a second opinion for your medical diagnosis called an Independent Medical Exam (IME). IMEs are supposed to offer an objective second opinion, but insurance companies choose who you go to for the IME. Because these doctors are compensated by insurance companies, it’s in the doctor’s best interest to side with insurance companies, rather than personal injury victims.
Blame Injuries on Pre-Existing Conditions
To recover compensation after your accident, you need to provide sufficient evidence that the defendant’s actions directly caused your injuries. The defendant’s insurance company will try to avoid paying out your claim by making the case that you were already injured before your accident.
This is one of the many reasons why it’s crucial to seek medical attention immediately after an accident. You draw a connection between the incident and your injuries by receiving medical attention.
If you delay receiving medical care, the defendant’s insurance company will argue that the accident didn’t cause your injuries and they can have your personal injury claim denied.
Delaying Claim Process
Often, it takes insurance companies way too long to file personal injury claims. You may wonder to yourself, “Why is my personal injury claim taking so long?” And the reason why is because the insurance company is hoping you’ll give up. Insurance companies know that if they stall personal injury claims, some people will give up on trying to recover their money, meaning the insurance company avoids paying the claims.
Convince You to Accept an Offer
Insurance companies contact victims directly shortly after accidents and pretend to offer great settlements to compensate them for their injuries. In reality, insurance companies can compensate you far more than what they offer in these initial deals.
In order to get the most compensation for your injuries, you need to hire a personal injury lawyer. Also, avoid speaking to insurance companies without a lawyer.
Record Your Personal Statement
After your accident, avoid direct communication with the defendant’s insurance company. In addition to trying to get you to settle for a cheaper deal, insurance companies will also try to take a recorded statement from you. Anything you say to insurance companies can be used against you if your claim leads to a lawsuit, so you should never speak to them without legal representation.
Contact a San Francisco Personal Injury Attorney
Having your personal injury claim denied or underpaid can leave you with overwhelming medical bills. If you were injured in a car accident or another personal injury, you need to hire a lawyer who can help you handle the insurance companies.
Here at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, we’ll help you recover the full damages you deserve after a personal injury. Depending on your case, we can help you recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of future earnings, and more.
Call us today at 877-380-8852, or schedule a free case evaluation here.