The National Center for Health Statistics has stated that around 31 million people are injured across our country each year that require medical treatment. Of these, some 2 million are severe enough to require some form of hospitalization. Additionally, 162,000 of these injuries are fatal. With California being an epicenter for traffic accidents, there is no shortage of personal injury cases, with them occurring all too often.
After a traumatic accident and filing a personal injury claim, insurance companies will soon be involved. While they are needed to help settle your claim and get you the compensation you deserve, it is important to have legal counsel by your side to ensure you aren’t losing out on any compensation or falling for their tactics.
This is because Insurance companies are notorious for offering the lowest settlement possible to individuals who don’t come to the table with solid legal counsel. They use common tactics that include placing blame elsewhere, undervaluing the cost of damages, attempting to delay or stall the process, and even discouraging those filing a claim from hiring an attorney.
As friendly and helpful as the insurance adjuster agent may sound, their interests are directly opposite to yours. They are not there to help you but to protect the interests of their employer by paying out as little as possible on every claim. Contacting you as soon as possible after the accident is not out of concern or responsibility but to catch you off guard after a traumatic event and often before you have had time to contact a lawyer or evaluate your situation.
Techniques that insurance adjusters may use include:
Attempts to Reduce Value of Medical Services for Bodily Injuries
California law requires that insurance cover all reasonable and necessary medical expenses resulting from injuries sustained in a car accident. An insurance company may try to argue that your treatment was not necessary or went on too long, as reasons not to pay for it. They may even try to convince you not to seek treatment or to discontinue it, and then use that as proof that your injuries were not as serious as you have claimed.
Attempts to Deny or Reduce Pain and Suffering Claims
The amount you may be due for pain and suffering can be more difficult to calculate and prove than economic expenses such as for medical bills or vehicle repair. However, noneconomic damages make up a significant part of the overall compensation to which you may be entitled.
Attempts to Shift Blame or Fault of the Accident
California is a comparative fault state, which means that multiple parties can be at fault for an accident, and that you may be able to recover for damages even if you are partially to blame for the accident. However, insurance companies sometimes try to use comparative fault to reduce the value of their claim by increasing your percentage of fault.
Attempts to Reduce Claims Because of Pre-Existing Conditions or Prior Medical Problems
If you have pre-existing conditions, the insurance company may attach some of your current injuries to your existing or past medical condition. If a pre-existing condition made you more susceptible to injury, you may be protected by California tort law. An insurance company cannot escape liability solely because of a victim’s pre-existing or prior medical conditions.
Attempts to Reduce Repair Costs or “Fair Market Value”
The insurance company is entitled to conduct a reasonable inspection of your vehicle. However, you are also entitled to an inspection of your vehicle, and an estimate of the repair costs, provided by the auto repair shop of your choice.
They are also required by California law to pay to repair the vehicle or the fair market value of the vehicle, whichever is less. The determination of fair market value should involve a market analysis of vehicles that are similar in make, model, age, and other features. The determination of repair cost should include estimates from multiple independent auto repair shops, not just one that the insurance company chooses.
Attempts to Delay
If you are recovering from an accident, you may be missing paychecks and facing mounting medical bills and other financial issues. You may be tempted to take whatever the insurance company offers, especially as time drags on and your expenses continue to climb. The availability of witnesses, reports and physical information from the accident may become less available. Insurance companies may use this to their advantage.
Discouraging You from Hiring an Attorney.
Insurance companies may claim that you do not need legal representation. The truth is, without a car accident lawyer who specializes in insurance disputes at your side, no one is looking out for your interests.
Due to these reasons, you’ll want to have a personal injury attorney with a deep understanding of the local insurance policy and knowledge. Firms like MAJK Law with in-house insurance advisors will help you get the maximum settlement available and nothing less. Insurance advisors understand exactly how these agencies work and can -provide you with great results so you don’t get taken advantage of.
Get in touch with us today and have an attorney that is fighting for your interests.