When you are injured in an accident by someone else’s negligence, you deserve prompt and fair compensation for the damages you have suffered.
Unfortunately, that’s probably not what you will get from the insurance company.Insurance companies employ many tactics to limit payouts as much as possible. The more your personal injury claim is worth, the more resources and time the insurance company will spend to fight your claim.
The following are some of the most common insurance company tactics Attorney Brian White & Associates, P.C. sees used against accident victims.
Blaming a Pre-Existing Medical Condition
It isn’t enough to prove that the other party was negligent; you must also show that their negligence caused your injuries. A common tactic the insurance company will use is claiming that your injury is actually a pre-existing condition. This argument means your injury was not caused by their policyholder and they are not liable.
For instance, imagine you have struggled with back pain for years, but you can still manage to work and your condition is under control. You’re rear-ended by a distracted driver at a stop sign. When you seek medical attention after your accident, your doctor discovers a herniated disc and that your condition has worsened.
The insurance company will likely leap on this and carefully examine your medical records before your accident. They will try to claim that your injuries aren’t new or a result of the accident, merely the condition you had before.
It’s important to understand that you are still entitled to receive compensation, even if you had a pre-existing condition. If the accident worsens your condition, you can still recover damages.
This is sometimes called the eggshell skull rule. You may recover for related medical bills and future medical care you would not otherwise have incurred. However, a pre-existing condition can make your claim more complicated.
Downplaying the Severity of Your Injuries
One of the most common insurance company tactics is to claim that you were not hurt as severely as you claim or that you are even faking your injuries.
The insurance companies claim their tactics are designed to prevent fraud.
However, the insurance company is a for-profit company that wants to limit payouts as much as possible.
The insurance company may question the need for treatments you have sought. They may question the calculated future damages related to your accident like reduced earning capacity.
They may say that you are well enough to return to work and your injuries won’t cause permanent disability. They are also likely to argue that your non-economic damages like pain and suffering are not worth as much as you claim.
There are many ways to combat this tactic. Your injury lawyer will encourage you to seek immediate medical attention and follow all of your doctor’s orders. Your medical records, expert testimony from medical professionals, and even photos of your injuries throughout your recovery will be used to establish how seriously you were injured.
Keep in mind insurance companies often employ private investigators to follow and record claimants. This is particularly true with high-value personal injury claims. Your injury lawyer will give you legal advice on how to safeguard yourself from these tactics.
Do not post anything on social media that may be misconstrued and remember to follow all physician guidance on restrictions on work, lifting, exercise, and other activities.
Shifting Fault to You
Texas uses a modified comparative negligence rule with a 51% bar to recovery. Under this rule, if more than one party is liable for an accident, each party’s responsibility for the damages will be determined by their share of fault. You can still recover compensation if you are partially at fault as long as you are not more than 50% to blame for the accident.
While this system can be viewed as a very fair system to ensure all liable parties are held responsible for their actions, insurance companies use it to their advantage. For every percentage of fault the insurance company can shift to you, the amount of damages they need to pay is directly reduced.
Determining fault in a car accident or other type of personal injury case can be complicated and require an in-depth investigation. It’s common for both parties in a crash to be found at fault to some degree. However, with stakes so high, it’s vital that your accident is properly investigated and the law is applied correctly.
Experienced personal injury lawyers can help defend you against claims that you contributed to or primarily caused your accident.
Using Your Statements Against You
One reason it’s important to work with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible is the fact that insurance companies can and will use any statements you make against you. A chat with an insurance adjuster may seem very casual and they may ask you questions designed to elicit responses that can be used against you later.
Do not be fooled by an insurance adjuster who is friendly and acts like a compassionate friend would; this kindness they show is part of their training to get more information to use against you.
Simply mentioning that you were rushing to get to the store at the time of the accident or apologizing may be used as admissions of fault. It’s in your best interest to consult with an injury lawyer as soon as possible.
Your lawyer will handle all communications with the insurance company so you can avoid making statements that may be misconstrued.
Offering a Fast Settlement
The insurance company knows you want to settle your claim as fast as possible. The more severe your injuries, the more desperate you may be for compensation to cover your medical treatment, lost wages, and other expenses. This is why offering a fast but low offer is a common tactic the insurance companies use.
If the insurance company can get you to accept a quick settlement, they can reduce the amount they need to pay for your insurance claim. They may pressure you to settle before the full extent of your injuries are truly known by reaching maximum medical improvement.
In this case, you will never be able to recover more money for your accident, even if it becomes apparent that your injuries are more serious, will require future medical care, or will leave you unable to work.
Contact a Houston Personal Injury Lawyer Today
You don’t deserve a difficult battle with the insurance company when you are injured and struggling to recover from your injuries. Attorney Brian White & Associates, P.C. is here to fight for you, protect you from these tactics, and negotiate for the fair compensation you deserve. Contact our law firm today to schedule a free case review with a personal injury lawyer who can help you.