In most accident claims, the insurance company for the at-fault party pays compensation to the accident victim for damages arising from the accident. Even though an insurance company may be liable for a claim, that does not mean the insurance company will immediately pay the claim in full. Many insurance companies use a variety of insurance tactics to undervalue injury claims. Being aware of various insurance tactics might help you avoid being a victim again by receiving less than you deserve for your accident claim.
Insurance Tactic 1: Asking for a Recorded or Written Statement
This tactic is one of the most common insurance tactics used by insurance providers to obtain information about an injury victim the company can use to lower the value of the claim. Adjusters ask you questions about the accident, your injuries, and your medical treatment.
A seemingly innocent statement you make could give the insurance company justification to lower the value of your insurance claim. For instance, telling the insurance adjuster you were running late for work that morning could give the company a reason to move to another common tactic – blaming the victim.
Insurance Tactic 2: Blaming the Accident Victim
An insurance company may try to blame you fully or partially for the cause of the accident. For example, if you said you were running late for work in your recorded statement, the company may claim you were speeding or distracted on your way to work, so you are partially at fault for causing the crash. If the insurance company can partially blame you for the crash, it can decrease the amount of money it must pay for your claim under Louisiana’s comparative negligence laws.
Insurance Tactic 3: Asking for a Signed Medical Release
The insurance adjuster might tell you that the company needs a signed medical release or medical records authorization so it can verify your injuries. Be very careful! Some insurance companies use these releases to obtain your full medical history. If you sustained a previous injury or have a medical condition, the company may claim your current injuries are the result of a pre-existing condition, so it does not owe you as much money for your claim. A medical release should be limited in date and scope to your accident injuries.
Insurance Tactic 4: Delaying the Claims Process
Insurance tactics may be aimed at delaying the claims process to wear a victim down so that the victim will accept a lower amount to settle the claim. In addition, delaying the claims process does not give the victim as much time to hire an attorney and file a personal injury lawsuit. Accident victims have a limited time to file personal injury lawsuits under Louisiana’s Statute of Limitations. It is best to talk to a New Orleans injury attorney as soon as possible after an accident to protect your rights. Waiting too long to talk to an attorney could result in losing your right to file a lawsuit.
Insurance Tactic 5: Rushing to Settle an Injury Claim
On the other hand, some insurance companies rush to settle injury claims, especially claims involving significant damages, wrongful death, or permanent disabilities. If the adjuster can convince you to settle your claim before you complete medical treatment, you are barred from seeking any additional compensation for the injury claim, even if you discover you have a permanent impairment or additional damages.
Injury claims should not be settled before you complete medical treatment. However, your time to file a personal injury lawsuit for an accident claim is short. In most cases, you have only one year from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. If you sustain serious injuries, you should talk to a NOLA car accident attorney immediately to protect your rights.
Contact a New Orleans Accident Attorney for a Free Case Review
Learn more about insurance tactics and how we can help you protect your legal rights after a traffic accident. Contact Attorney Fred Olinde of The Olinde Firm at (504) 587-1440 or 1-800-587-1889 to schedule a free consultation with a New Orleans accident attorney.