Truck Accidents 101: How NOT to Devalue Your Claim
By Space Coast Daily // November 21, 2020
When involved in an accident with a large truck, you are heading for a battle with the trucking company’s insurance. It is important to remember when talking to an insurance adjuster that despite their overall friendly demeanor, they are not your friend.
The job of an insurance adjuster is to protect the money of the agency. The best way to defend yourself from their attack and to protect your claim is to hire a personal injury lawyer.
How an Insurance Adjuster Operates
An insurance adjuster has one overriding job task: save money. Insurance companies pretend to be in the business of protecting people from disaster, but that is really just a secondary function of what they do that can sometimes work out for their clients.
The main function of an insurance company is to make money. The goal is to maximize the money coming in and minimize the money going out.
One of the main ways that insurance agencies achieve that goal is by denying claims. When an insurance company is unable to find a valid reason for completely denying a claim, they will do their best to undervalue it.
Some of the main tactics an insurance adjuster will use against you are:
■ Rushing to document your claim
■ Offering a quick settlement
■ Asking for a recorded statement
■ Delaying the claims process
■ Asking for authorization to release your medical records
■ Trying to convince you that you don’t need a lawyer
Rushing to Document Your Claim
Following an accident, victims should file a claim with the trucking company’s insurance company. You may find, though, that the insurance company contacts you before you even get a chance to begin the process.
Sometimes when you are still in the hospital. The insurance company knows that this is when you are most vulnerable, so their best chance to trick you into devaluing your claim is during this period.
They also know that many severe injuries are often not immediately diagnosed. They will try to get your claims process started immediately so that they can settle things before you discover just how much your claim is really worth.
Offering a Quick Settlement
In line with beginning the claims process, they will likely offer you a settlement during that first contact. Do not take any settlement offer or even discuss numbers with an insurance adjuster if they bring it up.
They will try to make you feel like there is a limited window in which to take a settlement offer, but that is a lie. You have plenty of time for negotiations.
Asking for a Recorded Statement
They will ask for a recorded statement about what happened in the accident to help determine liability. Do not give them one. They will look for any little thing in your account of the event to use against you to devalue your claim. You are under no obligation to share this information with them.
Delaying the Claims Process
The next step, if speed doesn’t work against you, will be to slow everything way down. They will try to drag out the claims process as long as possible.
The longer you have to wait on receiving payment, the more desperate you are likely to become. This is a hard tactic to fight on your own, so if you haven’t already contacted an attorney, you should definitely do so at this point.
Asking for Authorization to Release Your Medical Records
This may seem innocent enough, but an insurance company will use this authorization to comb through your complete medical history.
They will look for anything they can use, like a supposed preexisting condition, to minimize your medical claims. Never make this authorization.
Trying to Convince You That You Don’t Need a Lawyer
An insurance adjuster will likely suggest that you can settle your claim without getting lawyers involved. They will try to make it seem like hiring a lawyer will be very expensive.
However, the truth is, most personal injury lawyers will work on a contingency basis. That means that if you don’t get a settlement, then they don’t get paid.
Studies also show that claimants who use a lawyer get a much higher settlement on average, which tends to more than cover their fees. A qualified personal injury lawyer is your best bet to fighting the tactics used by a practiced insurance adjuster to devalue your claim.