When you make a personal injury claim, you should expect the defendant’s insurance company to exploit every means possible to minimize the amount they owe you. Here, we’ll go over three common ways insurance companies try to minimize personal injury claims.
Trivializing Your Injury
One of the most common ways the insurance company will try to defeat your claim is by minimizing the injury. If they are successful at doing this, they can get away with paying out less than they actually should. There are numerous tactics they use to do this, such as:
- Medical records: Insurance companies will check your claims against available medical records, including your doctor’s treatment and recommendations, first responder reports, and so forth. If the records differ in any way from your claims, your case could be in jeopardy.
- Surveillance: Often, insurance companies will use surveillance to try to undermine your claim. If, for example, your doctor has ordered you to avoid strenuous activity for a certain period of time, but someone sees you mowing your lawn, the insurance company could hear about it and use that as evidence that you aren’t as badly injured as you said you were.
- Preexisting conditions: Many injuries may exacerbate preexisting conditions. For instance, you might suffer from chronic back pain, and that pain could be made worse after a slip and fall accident. However, if that isn’t made explicitly clear in your case, the insurance company could try to claim you already had back problems and deny you compensation on those grounds, even though you still have a valid claim.
In essence, the insurance company will try to say that your injuries don’t warrant as much compensation as you claim. The best way to combat this is to be as open and honest as you can about every detail regarding your injury, follow your doctor’s orders, and rely on the assistance of a skilled attorney.
Personal injury claims are fault-based, meaning your injury must have resulted from someone else’s negligence. Insurance companies often claim the party they insure wasn’t at fault for the injury. If they can’t fully deny liability, they may try to state they were only partially at fault to reduce the claim per Illinois’s comparative negligence laws. They might also outright lie and say your insurance company is the one that should provide you with compensation, not them.
In these cases, it’s very important to know your rights and have thorough documentation on what happened at the accident. Details are crucial, as is evidence, including photographs, eyewitness accounts, physical clues from the accident site, and so forth.
The last tactic is straight up stalling. An insurance company that does not want to pay out may try to draw out the processing of your claim as long as possible, and they might use a variety of excuses to justify that. For instance, you might be told you didn’t comply with certain filing requirements, or they might simply claim the investigation is still in progress.
If you have been injured in an accident and need compensation, it’s vital that you have an attorney on your side who will fight for your rights. Hart David Carlson LLP can provide you with the legal assistance you need.