In a perfect world, insurance companies would deliver on their promises to help pick up the financial pieces after accidents happen. In reality, these companies answer only to their shareholders and will look for any reason to deny a claim. If you’ve been injured in an accident, the most important thing you can do is file a claim and then speak with an attorney. While you might have previous experience with the insurance claims process, you’d be surprised at the underhanded tricks used by these companies to deny expensive payouts post-accident. Here are a few to be on the lookout for:
Calling Immediately After an Accident
Soon after you’re involved in an accident, you might receive a call from the insurance company looking to settle. This might initially seem like a good thing – after all, nobody likes to drag out the insurance claims process. Even if the call seems harmless, it’s important to be on your guard when talking to the insurance company. They know how vulnerable people can be in the immediate aftermath of an accident.
You may not have had time to get your injuries completely checked out, and it may be too soon to fully understand how serious your damages are. The insurance company may call before you’ve even had time to consult with an attorney who can advise you on the best path forward. Remember, anything you say on a call can be used against your claim in the future. It’s also important to keep in mind that if you agree to a settlement too early, you’ll waive your right to pursue additional damages in the future.
Stalling a Claim
Delaying tactics are some of the oldest tricks in the insurance claim denial book. Agents may give policyholders the runaround on the phone by using complicated phone trees that lead to nowhere. They’ll put callers on hold for hours, hoping they’ll hang up in frustration. Insurance companies may also sit on claims until after important deadlines have passed. Some even withhold correct forms that need processing in order for claims to payout.
All of these strategies aim to delay and confuse policyholders into forgoing collecting the insurance claim they deserve. Even the most patient of individuals can find themselves overwhelmed by these stonewalling tactics. Fail to follow up on even one of their confusing calls or forms, and your payout could be jeopardized.
Getting Too Involved in Medical Records and Treatment
After an accident, the insurance company may request all of your medical records. This might seem reasonable at first glance – after all, you’re claiming an injury, so they need to understand your medical history for you to fully recover, right? Wrong. Insurance companies request access to these records so they can look for reasons to deny your claim. A pre-existing condition is all it takes for them to blame your current symptoms on and minimize your financial recovery.
In some cases, the insurance company may even try to make medical decisions for you. Their aim is to minimize your recovery, so they’ll often try to claim that certain medical treatments are unnecessary. It’s the job of your doctor to decide what medical treatments are necessary, not the insurance company.
A Failure to Communicate
If you decline an insurance company’s initial offer, don’t be surprised if you stop hearing from them altogether. By ignoring your calls, emails, and faxes, the insurance company can make you feel as though you lost out on your one chance at a settlement. This can ignite a sense of panic, inspiring you to call and accept their initial offer after all. At this point, they may offer an even lower settlement amount.
Don’t be intimidated by this strategy. Insurance companies use these tactics when they’re backed into the corner. Lowball settlement offers aren’t the only option you have.
Hire an Attorney Today
If you believe the insurance company has unfairly denied your claim, the lawyers at Cullotta Bravo Law Group can help. We’re expert negotiators who can go toe to toe with the insurance company and get you the settlement you deserve. Contact us now by clicking here or dialing 630-898-7800.