Auto insurance companies are not “evil,” and it’s important to avoid painting the (often very good) work they do with a broad brush. However, profit does motivate many of their actions. In general, it benefits insurers to pay out as little as they can after a car accident. This strategy makes cynical business sense. And insurance companies that try to rise above the fray and pay out more generously can easily find themselves undercut by less scrupulous competitors. In fact, some critics put the ultimate blame for “stick it to the victim” strategies many on the industry’s culture itself.
Regardless of why this widespread attitude occurs, if you are the injured party in a car accident, you need to be appropriately skeptical of insurance company promises and observe sound due diligence when pursuing a claim.
Here’s a quick (and by no means complete) compendium of dubious tactics that insurers use to deny or limit car accident claims. Be aware of these ploys, and contact the Kelly Law Team if you have concerns.
- Unfairly doubting the nature and severity of your damages.
You and your doctor claim you’ve experienced XYZ injuries. But the insurance company disputes this claim—possibly in aggressive and inappropriate ways. Maybe you didn’t go directly to the hospital after the accident. This is perfectly normal. According to the Wellness Plus Clinic, pain after a car accident can be slow to surface. But the insurer can use this information to build a case that you delayed treatment because you were lying about/exaggerating what happened to you. And they can recruit doctors—who are obviously biased in the insurance company’s direction—to cast further doubt on the diagnosis.
- Blaming the victim in the crash.
The insurer might argue that you were at fault—even though the police report said you weren’t! The company might go to bizarre lengths, creating straw man arguments to say that you shouldn’t receive damages because your car was not maintained properly or because you stopped suddenly. An experienced personal injury attorney can prevent this type of bullying. Also, photos of the accident and witness statements can bolster your case.
- Getting you to sign forms you don’t understand—or admit to things that didn’t actually happen.
An insurance adjuster assigned to your case may contact you shortly after the accident. He might hand you forms to sign without fully explaining what they mean. Signing these forms can forfeit your right to file a lawsuit or cause you to accept a small settlement. Do not sign any documents from your adjuster without speaking to a qualified attorney.
- Using aggressive software to minimize claims using complex algorithms.
Consider software like Colossus. According to boosters, “Colossus® is the insurance industry’s leading expert system for assisting adjusters in the evaluation of bodily injury claims.” But many critics argue that the software is egregiously misused. This piece from the Wall Street Journal explains both sides of the debate over this controversial software.
The Kelly Law Team can make sure insurance companies treat you fairly and compensate you fully after an Arizona car accident. Contact us at 602-283-4122, so we can help you get the settlement you deserve.