By: Crockett Law
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5 Ways Insurers Dupe You: Part 1
(…and the best ways to never fall victim to them.)
Judging by the billions in profits that insurance companies rake in, it’s easy to assume that whatever practices they employ have got to be ethical. They’ve got to be on the up and up– otherwise the industry wouldn’t be booming, right? Nope.
Padding these colossal coffers is a byproduct of deliberate, underhanded (and in some cases, illegal) methods used on the injured and policyholders alike. Here are 5 of the most common tactics insurance companies use to dupe, delay, then deny you following a car accident injury.
1. The Insurance Company’s Service Reps are going to be Super-Friendly.
It’s easy to understand how car accidents cause injuries, stress, and emotional trauma to anyone involved. Adrenaline and a sense of shock often mask what could be life-altering injuries to you and your loved ones. If you’re lucky enough to walk away from an accident scene with no visible sign of injury, you may very well just be grateful to be alive and “unharmed.” It isn’t yet common knowledge how emotionally susceptible you are during this time.
That’s exactly why the at-fault party’s insurance company wants to get in touch with you and your loved ones almost as soon as as the cars are towed away from the accident scene. The agents will sound wholeheartedly concerned about your wellbeing, safety, and full recovery. They’ll ask you how you’re doing, how you’re feeling, and a host of other grandmotherly questions.
This is a premeditated, industry-blanketing approach designed so that your guard is never up between you and the insurance company in the first place. After all, they’re calling to make sure you’re ok. This is highly effective at disarming injured victims into thinking that these people truly have their best interests at heart.
As such, there’s no shock nor recoil later in the same conversation when they ask for a recorded or written statement (to use against you later, of course) or tell you they’re sending over a few documents for you to sign that allow them to look at your medical records in relation to the injuries caused by the accident.
2. They’ll make a Too little, Too early offer, Especially if they think you’re desperate.
Claims adjusters will tell you that their job is to fairly assess the extent of you and your loved ones injuries, calculate the value of your lost property, income, etc. That may very well be written in the job description. But that’s hardly their ultimate goal. From the moment that insurance company even knows you are part of a claim against someone insured by them, they’re running a robust, around the clock operation searching for any earthly reason to completely deny liability in your case.
Arguably the most nefarious reason that adjusters come around soon after a catastrophic injury is because they know that you’ll still be reeling from the effects of the accident. You and your loved ones are likely still adjusting and trying to get back to normal. At that point in your recovery, you’ll have no realistic idea of just what this accident and accompanying injury will cost you:
- What happens when I run out of sick days?
- Will I have to take a lower paying position? Am I going to get fired?
- How will I get to doctor’s appointments?
- Will I ever be able to enjoy life again?
- Will my surgeries be successful? What if something goes wrong and I lose a limb?
- Will I become a burden to my children / spouse?
Insurance companies and their claims adjusters know full well that you and your family will not have had nearly enough time to grapple with the gravity of your injuries or loss yet. This won’t stop them from coming to your home or even visiting you in the hospital to try to convince you to take a settlement offer. Before that though, they’ve already looked up your address and employment history and determined where you and your family fall on the socioeconomic spectrum. If they get the idea that you’re in need and cannot afford to miss a paycheck (most Americans can’t), they’ll exploit your desperation.
This initial offer is almost always significantly less than what your injury case is really worth, but you’ve got bills to pay, your kids have to eat, you are unable to work or get to work, and lawsuits move too slow.
Some insurance companies even train their adjusters to lay their checkbook down on the table in between them and the injured party before making this initial lowball offer. These type of backdoor settlements and waivers do not factor:
- Extent / length of medical treatment
- Prescription costs
- Pain & suffering
- Present & future lost wages
- Loss of the enjoyment of life