I am sick and tired of seeing insurance companies take advantage of people “before” they have had a chance to speak to an attorney. For years, one major insurance company would encourage claimants to not hire an attorney. Frankly, you may not need an attorney to represent you in your case, depending upon the facts; however, you should be armed with this important information from the very onset of your claim. This report is to inform you today – not tomorrow which may be too late.
You are at a complete disadvantage when you deal with the insurance company. The insurance adjusters who handle claims do it all day, every day. This is the way they get their paychecks and pay their bills each month. You may be very intelligent and successful, but you are probably not a claims professional; but they are claims professionals. Think of it in terms of baseball. If you went to bat against a major-league pitcher, you could get lucky and foul off a pitch or two, but try hitting that big-league curve ball. You would probably strike out.
I don't want you to strike out in your case and neither do you. I'm writing this blog to help level the playing field. If you have any questions about an accident in which you, a family member, or a friend have been injured, you need the advice of someone who understands the system and the way insurance companies think. Basically, the insurance company wants to close the file and get you to release all of your claims.
Here are some tactics insurance companies have used in some of our cases just to wear you out and get you to go away or to settle for less than you should:
- Deliberate delay. The insurance company knows that often, after an accident, you are under financial pressure to replace your car and sometimes you have lost wages due to your injuries. They take their time with your claim so you feel a sense of desperation and worry about your medical bills, losing your job and having your credit affected by unpaid medical bills.
- Requesting Unnecessary Information. The adjustor will insist that you run a “wild goose chase” to track down every little piece of information before they can “evaluate your claim.” Even if you were rear-ended, they will make you produce a police report if their insured disputes your story of how the accident happened. Sometimes the police report isn't available for weeks! They don't mind waiting a few weeks for you to do the leg-work. Meanwhile, they are earning interest on your money in their coffers!
- Disputing Medical Treatment. You may not be aware of this, but some companies use a computer program to determine how long you need physical therapy for certain injuries. Not only that, without any formal medical education, and even before your doctor writes a report, they “know” when you should be recovered from your injuries. Meanwhile, they have no conscience about having you sign a blanket medical authorization which allows them to look at all of your medical past––not just your accident-related records. They can use your old irrelevant medical history to blame your injuries on some prior condition your suffered.
- Deny some medical charges, even if clearly related to the accident. Just think. If they shave merely 5% off your claim, and can do that to the millions of claims made each year, they will get richer. Do you think you will get a discount on your annual auto insurance premiums because of the money they have saved? Well, do you recall any year in which your insurance premiums decreased from the prior year? I sure don't.
- Misrepresenting or omitting to fully represent Insurance Benefits. This one is really bad. They tell you that there is only $100,000 of coverage. After we file a lawsuit, we suddenly find out there is an umbrella policy for $1,000,000! Don't you think they knew that before we filed a lawsuit? Of course they did!
- Acting like your Buddy and Making False Promises. Don't kid yourself. No matter how badly injured you were or how sympathetic the adjuster sounds on the phone, he is not your friend. Beware the adjuster who befriends you, shows up at your house and promises to pay future medical bills. This is an infamous tactic to stop you from hiring a lawyer. I assure you they won't come around to your home after you hire a lawyer! As to those future medical bills, don't hold your breath waiting for payment based on the insurance company's promise. They will only pay the bills until their computer program tells them the claim is costing them too much. Your own insurance company can become your enemy and your credit can be damaged when they start shooting down your medical bills. Do you think the doctor will simply “write off ” your billing because the insurance company won't pay? Of course not. Your bills will end up in collection and that could destroy your credit.
Beware of outrageous lawyers advertising of many offices, which I call “accident mills,” attempt to handle hundreds of cases at a time making promises that can't be kept or to equate your injury to cash, cash, cash. In these firms your case is rarely handled by the attorney you thought you hired and you are often passed off to an inexperienced associate or paralegal. If you hire an accident mill lawyer, you will be lucky if you ever speak to the attorney you thought you hired!
Most lawyers would require you to make an appointment in which you would get some of the information that is provided in this blog. You should have access to this information right now and without any pressure. The hiring of an attorney to represent you is an extremely important step that could make or break your case.
Certainly, if you need immediate advice or have a pressing question about your accident even before you finish this blog, do not hesitate to call Worthington Law Group at 215-576-5150 or toll free at 1-866-644-2389. You can also visit our web site at www.worthingtonlawgroup.com for more information about the firm and our approach to accident claims.