Car insurance companies tell crash victims a lot of things about their claims and the legal process. The thing to remember is the insurance company has its own interests and they do not align with yours. The things they are telling you are meant to serve their interests.
When an insurance company representative tells you something about your claim, make sure to consider what they are not telling you. If you only consider the things the insurance company is telling you, you could be misled.
Below, our experienced attorneys discuss some of the things insurance companies often do not tell crash victims and why. If you have questions about your claim for compensation, we are here to help at no upfront cost to you.
Insurers Are Not Trying to Protect Your Interests
Car insurance company advertisements have certainly become much more memorable in recent years. Insurance company marketing tries to relay the message that the insurance company is on your side and will take care of you.
However, the truth is much more complicated than that. Insurance companies are legally required to handle claims in good faith, but they are looking for any reason to deny claims or underpay them.
They want to get into a detailed conversation with you about your claim and your injuries so they can find something to use against you. They want to mislead or trick you into saying something that damages your credibility or downplays the severity of your injuries and your claim.
Despite this, it is often possible to secure favorable compensation from the insurance company. It is important to understand where the insurance company is coming from and act appropriately. There are steps you can take to protect your claim from an insurance company that is working against you.
Injury Attorneys Do Not Charge Crash Victims Up Front
Car insurers want to convince injured victims that hiring an attorney is too expensive. The insurance company is not saying this to protect the value of your claim. They do not want you to hire an attorney because injury victims who hire attorneys often recover more compensation than those who do not.
Insurance companies also do not tell you injury attorneys work on contingency. At Schmidt Kramer for example, there are no upfront fees for our services. The initial consultation is free of charge and there are no fees while we are working on your case.
The insurance company may tell you a lawyer will take a huge chunk of your settlement to cover their costs. However, our Harrisburg-based vehicle collision lawyers discuss fees in the initial consultation. That way there are no surprises at the end of the legal process.
While the insurance company is focused on saving itself money, our attorneys are focused on securing full compensation for your damages.
You Do Not Need to Agree to a Settlement Right Away
There is no requirement that you agree to the first settlement offer made by the insurance company, or that you agree to a settlement offer early in the process. You have the option of making a counteroffer, and this is something your attorney can do for you.
The insurance company may tell you that you need to accept the initial offer because they will not offer more compensation later. If you attempt to negotiate on your own, that may be true. However, if you hire an attorney to negotiate on your behalf, particularly an attorney who regularly takes cases to court, the insurance company may be much more likely to offer more compensation.
By waiting to accept a settlement offer, you leave time to recover from your injuries and for your lawyer to investigate the crash. This helps your lawyer build a stronger case and determine the full cost of your damages.
Doctors Are the Only Ones Who Can Determine the Severity of Your Injuries
You do not need to explain the severity of your injuries. This is something that should be done by your doctors and something that should be assessed after reviewing your medical records.
Insurance companies would like you to rate the seriousness of your injuries because victims often downplay their injuries. Statements about your injuries could be used by the insurance company to devalue your claim or even to deny your claim.
Crash victims should simply state that they are injured and are receiving treatment. The insurance company can review your medical records to assess the seriousness of your injuries.
You Are Not Required to Sign a General Medical Release
The insurance company wants you to sign a general medical release to gain access to all your medical records. That way they can look for evidence of a medical issue that you were suffering from before the crash. They want evidence to use against you to claim you were not injured in the crash.
While you may need to provide medical records related to your injury to validate your claim, providing unlimited access to your medical records could be devastating to your claim. This is an issue that should be discussed with a licensed attorney who will know how to protect your medical privacy while providing strong evidence for your claim.
Insurers May Intentionally Delay the Legal Process
Car insurance companies are notorious for delaying injury claims. They may delay the investigation, wait to respond to your phone calls, wait to process documents or find other ways to drag their feet. They are hoping the victim will get desperate and accept a lowball settlement offer.
Insurance companies also want to give the victim and his or her attorney less time to file a lawsuit. There is a statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit and once the deadline passes, victims lose the right to file a lawsuit.
If you think the process is being delayed, contact a licensed attorney to discuss your situation. Our attorneys have significant experience dealing with insurance companies that try to delay the process and wrongly deny or undervalue claims.
Call to Discuss Legal Help for Your Claim
Schmidt Kramer’s attorneys have vast experience helping crash victims secure full compensation for their damages. If you were injured in a crash and have questions about seeking compensation for medical bills and other damages, we are here to help.
Free consultation. No upfront fees or obligations. Call (717) 727-1837.