What To Expect From The Insurance Company After An Accident
Insurance companies like to project a caring and compassionate image in their advertising. They want you to know that they’re on your side, they want you to save money on monthly premiums, and they’ll be there for you when something happens and you need money to recover or replace something you lost. Unfortunately, the reality of insurance companies is often very different.
Insurers are for-profit companies, which means that their goal is to make as much money as possible while spending as little as they can. For insurance companies, every penny they give out in claims and settlements is money that comes off their profit margins, and so they do everything they can to reduce these costs. They create actuarial tables to figure out the high-risk customers and charge them extra, they use technically legal delaying tactics and only pay as much as they legally have to, and they hire investigators to check for insurance fraud and other reasons to avoid paying.
So if you get into an accident and have to speak with an insurer to submit a claim, what can you expect them to do?
A Fast Phone Call
In some ways, getting a call from the insurance company right away can be reassuring. However, insurance companies will often do this because you’re off your guard after a traumatic event and you haven’t had time to contact a lawyer for legal advice or representation. They may ask you for a recorded statement at this time, but you probably shouldn’t provide one at this time. You may not know the extent of the damages to your property or your personal injuries, and the insurer may be able to use what you say to deny your claim in the future.
A Request For Medical Authorization
Your medical information is confidential, and only you and your medical providers have the authority to see it. Because of this, insurance companies will sometimes ask for a full medical authorization because that will let them see your medical bills and pay them quickly and directly.
However, this medical authorization will also let them see your full medical history and they can use any preexisting conditions or hospital visits to claim that your current injuries have nothing to do with the accident they have to cover.
A Fast But Small Settlement
After an accident, the bills come in right away but the insurance settlement takes its time. The law allows insurers to have this time so they can investigate for fraud and figure out all the facts, but they also use this time to pressure desperate people into agreeing to a smaller settlement. After all, any money is better than no money when a bunch of expenses land in front of you all at once. However, if you want the full settlement amount you need to stay strong and wait out the grace period.
A Misrepresentation Of The Law
Insurance law is a little different in every state, and it’s not the kind of thing most people study. Sometimes a particularly unscrupulous insurance adjuster will take advantage of your ignorance to tell you that you can’t ask for compensation for lost wages, certain kinds of medical treatment, or nonspecific damages like pain and suffering. Depending on the policy they may be right, but you shouldn’t rely on an insurance adjuster for legal advice. If you want to know what you can and can’t ask for in a claim, you should speak to a personal injury lawyer.
If you want the best odds for getting a full settlement from the insurer and fast, you should contact a personal injury lawyer in your area. Large firms have plenty of experience dealing with reluctant insurance companies, and when you have a lawyer representing you insurance companies know it will be much more expensive to try and stall you or lowball your claim. That’s why many people get bigger settlements even after paying their legal fees