Auto insurance companies are well-known for calculating their approach to settling accident claims. They typically know beforehand when an injured claimant is going to call well before it happens, and many times they record all incoming phone calls as company policy. Why? The primary reason is that there could be something said in an initial phone conversation with a claimant that can help in defending the claim if there is a denial.
Every step of the process has been thought out by the company before anyone even attempts to file a claim. This situation alone is enough for anyone facing an accident claim to consult with an experienced car accident attorney before filing a claim. And in the event you speak with the respondent insurance company before calling a lawyer, here are a few tips on what to watch and listen for in consultation.
Outright Claim Denial
Sometimes an auto insurance company will deny any responsibility in fault-based insurance claim states using the comparative negligence defense. An experienced auto accident attorney can explain the negligence law in your particular state in determining if the claim denial is valid.
Having a car accident lawyer evaluate your situation can ensure you get fair compensation. You should never accept an insurer’s settlement offer without having a personal injury attorney look over it first.
Quick Low Settlement Amount Offer
In the event an insurance company does not outright deny an accident claim, there may be a quick offer to settle the claim with no further insurer responsibility. This is very common, and it typically includes a signed release of ongoing medical coverage for injuries and no allowance for general non-economic damages stemming from long-term complications associated with the injuries.
It is never a good decision to take this offer. Even though there may be a financial need, it is best to wait and discuss the case with a legal professional. They can guide you through the process of negotiating for the highest possible settlement.
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Reduced Claim Value
Some insurance claims adjusters will attempt to reduce the actual value of a claim, even when it is obvious they must pay. Excessive requests for documentation and combative attitude regarding claim value is common. It is a sure sign your claim is much more valuable than you realize when this is happening.
Typical items that are discussed are the values of a vehicle and the number of general damages that are available. Legal professionals understand this tactic very well, and they also understand that this could actually constitute a claim for bad faith negotiating by the insurance company.
Take It or Leave It Offers
Many insurance companies will make an offer to settle a claim and tell the claimant to take the case to court if they are not happy. This response forces the claimant to either accept the offer or hire an attorney, and it is usually offered when they think the offer will be accepted. This happens more often than many injured parties realize.
Purposely Delayed Claim Offers
Some insurance company claims adjusters will go out of their way to request multiple doctor appointments, second opinions, and excessive documentation. Even though they may claim they need more proof of injury for approval, what they are really doing is prolonging the case with the hope that the claimant will accept what will eventually be a lowball offer to settle because their resistance to pay will assuredly continue if the case goes to court.
Contact a Legal professional
These are just a few of the methods that car insurance companies use when wanting to reduce a valid claim value or encourage a claimant to not pursue the injury claim. If you have an accident claim and any of these responses have occurred from the insurance company, call an auto accident attorney in your state as soon as possible. You only have one opportunity for financial justice, and a legal professional will keep the insurance provider honest in claim payment.