After you’ve been injured in an accident, understanding how the insurance process plays out and who pays for your damages may be confusing. All you’ve been told is that you have to go through insurance to recover the compensation you deserve. And, based on your circumstances, your claim may be worth a significant payout.
Insurance companies are in the business of paying the least amount they can, so as to improve the profitability of their company. They know they can be on the hook to pay out up to their insured’s policy limits. Still, they are equipped with deceiving tactics to identify loopholes in negotiations, investigations, and policy contracts. While you might hope your insurer would fight for you, you should actually expect to be offered a low-ball settlement from the other driver’s insurance company. The problem is, although you may be able to secure your current expenses, you’re not getting the full amount necessary to cover your future costs. The consequences of an insufficient payout may have an impact on your family, your ability to heal, and your future endeavors.
The Pitfalls of Accepting the First Settlement Offer
Presenting a low settlement offer is a deliberate move made by most insurance companies to see if claimants will accept it and move on. Once you sign a release letter accepting the offer and proceed to cash your settlement, your claim will be closed, and insurance companies are no longer responsible for paying you.
In many cases, low-ball settlement offers are exploitative and target vulnerable accident victims who are not in a position to think clearly or rationally. Insurance companies strategically make offers early on because accident victims are still uncertain of the time they’ll miss from work or how their injuries will be treated. Consequently, if your injuries require several surgical procedures or take years to heal before you can return to normal, the insurance company is under no legal obligation to reopen and recalculate your claim.
Insurance Settlement Tactics Used to Minimize Injury Claims
Insurance companies employ various tactics to minimize injury claims, involving a combination of denying, delaying, and defending methods. Insurance companies are focused on protecting their profits and will use their best efforts to reduce the amount of money they must pay. Knowing how insurance companies work and what these tactics are may help you make informed decisions when communicating with insurers. Common tactics used to limit liability include:
- Claiming your injuries are exaggerated
- Arguing that your injuries are unrelated to your accident
- Blaming you for the accident
- Demanding that you get further medical examinations
- Reassigning your claim to a new adjuster
- Continuing to offer you low amounts
This back-and-forth process is risky, as the longer you go without payment, the more likely you are to accept an offer without considering long-term possibilities. What’s worse, the more time passes, the less time you’ll have to find an attorney, build your case, and file a personal injury lawsuit. The complexities of insurance-related matters should not be understated, and you’ll want to be certain you work with a professional legal team dedicated to protecting your best interests.
Injury Lawyers Protecting Residents of Southeastern Pennsylvania
Without legal representation, you may not be able to quantify the full extent of your injury’s economic, psychological, and physical impact. When you don’t truly understand your situation and insurance companies are pressuring you to accept a settlement offer, you may make costly mistakes in hopes that you can move forward with your life. In fact, if the other party only has a small amount of insurance, and you have Underinsured Motorist Coverage on your own policy, you may be unable to claim a much larger settlement if you do not obtain consent to settle from your own insurance company. All of these problems can be avoided by seeking out quality legal representation shortly after you are in an accident. When your future is at stake, you’ll want to work with the injury lawyers at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford right away.
At Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, we’ve spent over 65 years advocating for those who have been wrongfully injured across Southeastern Pennsylvania, and we’re planning on doing the same for years to come. Whether you need help handling negotiations with your insurer or understanding your legal options, we’ve got your back. To speak with an experienced personal injury attorney over a free consultation, complete a confidential online contact form or call (215) 822-7575.