Filing an injury claim following an auto accident often appears as a simple task that will require no legal assistance when first contacting the respondent insurance company, but this appearance is typically by design. Contact representatives for all insurance companies are well-trained in accepting claims and initially communicating with injured victims. A first discussion with an insurance representative may also include questions specifically asked to glean information from the driver that could be used against them when the case is finally settled. Insurance companies are in business to generate profits as the ultimate mission. Company representatives and claims adjusters are obligated first to protecting the company bottom line and reducing their client’s responsibility level in causing an accident. They are obligated to injured claimants only to the extent of insurance protection carried by their client. There are two basic methods insurance companies use in reducing claim values.
Making a Quick Low-Ball Offer
Many auto accidents are obvious regarding fault and responsibility to pay injury claims. Insurance companies know when they will be required to provide at least some level of benefit. However, that does not mean the claims adjusters will not make an attempt to lessen damages. This is commonly accomplished by telling the injured claimant they will not need an attorney because the company is only liable to a certain extent. They regularly also make a quick low-level settlement offer that also assuredly will include a full release of future medical benefits. Once a claimant has signed onto the settlement, the case is over and any potential future claims have been avoided by the company. This is how insurance claims adjusters take advantage of the personal need for quick financial compensation immediately following a crash, which is a very common situation for many accident victims.
Stalling a Claim Settlement
Some insurance companies will begin the process of providing benefits for victims only to stop coverage as the case goes along in hopes of “waiting out” the claimant. This is usually accomplished with a “take it or leave it” offer that stands until a court date. All personal injury lawyers understand this tactic when they are retained after the claimant has had difficulty handling the claim personally. This is especially common in cases where the injured claimant was driving and may be assigned a major percentage of comparative fault in the case, which can be used by the insurance provider to reduce the total damages available based on the discounted fault percentage. This also typically include a long waiting period before being finalized.
Always remember that insurance agents are trained professional negotiators looking to reduce overall costs. Personal injury attorneys are likewise trained professional negotiators who will fight diligently for all compensation their client’s deserve. Automobile accident injury claims are often more valuable than an injured claimant understands, and having solid legal representation is the only way to get compensated equitably. Always call an attorney immediately following any accident.