How Insurance Companies May Try to Mislead Car Crash Victims
Posted on behalf of Goldberg Finnegan, LLC on Jan 28, 2022 in Car Accidents
Accident victims are extremely vulnerable right after a crash, both physically and mentally. Insurance companies know this and take full advantage, hoping to catch a victim off-guard. They know if an attorney is not yet involved, they have a chance of paying a lot less on a claim. To accomplish this, insurers use various statements and tricks to mislead car crash victims.
Goldberg Finnegan discusses the many ways insurance companies try to trick or mislead car crash victims.
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Tactics Insurers Use to Mislead Car Crash Victims
There is nothing more comforting to an accident victim than to get on the phone with someone who sounds like they care. Insurance companies and their employees are well trained and use this approach to their advantage. For instance, when injured victims relax, they may say something they do not realize could damage their claim. How do insurance companies do this?
They Speak Like a Neighbor or Friend Who is on Your Side
Insurers are not necessarily the bad guy, but they are not on your side. They run a business, so their primary goal is to avoid paying you top dollar on your claim. Being friendly when they call is one very successful method that they use to catch crash victims off guard.
Insurers May Try to Get You to Downplay Your Injuries
While sounding like they genuinely care, the insurance adjuster may try to get you to downplay your injuries. For instance, they may ask how you are doing. They know the conversational reply to this question is typically, “I’m fine.” However, the insurance adjuster could later use these words against you. For instance, they may argue that you said you were doing fine and were therefore not badly injured.
Adjusters May Pressure You for Accident Details
Insurance adjusters are so well trained that they can often get you to say things that are useful to them without you even knowing it. For instance, they may ask you casually how the accident happened? You may think they are being concerned, but they are really trying to get you to provide details. Often, injured victims in this position may accidentally ramble about things they do not really know are true. For example, victims may say they should have tried to hit the brakes sooner. They could use a statement like this to show you were partially to blame.
Statements Insurers Use to Mislead Car Crash Victims
While sounding like a friendly neighbor, the insurance company may make several statements that, if you comply, work in their favor.
You Have to Give a Recorded Statement
Often, insurers may tell car crash victims that they must give a recorded statement right away. This is not true. It is necessary for you to cooperate according to the law and your insurance contract. However, you do not have to give this statement immediately. If pressured to do this immediately, we recommend politely saying you wish to speak with your attorney first. No matter what they may tell you afterward, you are within your rights to do this.
Their Settlement Offer is the Only One You Will Get
This statement is another one that insurers often use to mislead car crash victims, and it is also not true. Negotiations often go back and forth between the insurer and the plaintiff’s attorney many times before reaching an agreement. Again, it is to their advantage if a crash victim does not know their rights and accepts this initial offer.
A quick settlement offer is almost always for much lower than the actual value of your claim. Yet many crash victims, afraid they may not get anything, may accept this lowball offer.
Attorneys know victims must first reach their maximum medical improvement (MMI) point before an accurate offer can be calculated.
You Must Sign a General Medical Release
You should never sign a general medical release. Doing so gives the insurance company full access to all your medical records. Your attorney, on the other hand, can make sure to provide only the medical history that is relevant to your accident.
Hiring an Attorney is Unnecessary and Too Expensive
Again, it benefits the insurance company, not the policyholder, to handle a claim without legal help. The insurance company has the upper hand because most policyholders do not fully understand the law or their rights.
Most personal injury lawyers today take car crash claims on contingency. This means you pay nothing up front to hire an attorney and nothing throughout the legal process. Your attorney only gets paid if he or she wins your case through a settlement or verdict. This approach helps level the playing field, allowing all crash victims the opportunity to hold negligent parties accountable for their actions.
Working with a lawyer also ensures you have someone on your side to protect your rights and fight for your best interests.
Preexisting Conditions are Not Covered
Regardless of whether you have any preexisting conditions or injuries, you may still have a valid claim. Often these injuries may be aggravated or made worse in a car crash. The at-fault party is liable for these additional damages. You should not discuss preexisting injuries with the insurance company, however, until you have spoken to an attorney. He or she will have a strategy for presenting this information to the insurance company.
Should You Speak with the Insurance Company?
While the insurance company will likely call you soon after your crash, you do not have to talk to them. In fact, we strongly recommend victims seek legal help first to avoid making mistakes that could harm a potential claim. This is critical in Maryland, thanks to the state’s contributory negligence law. Insurance companies only need to prove you were one percent liable to avoid paying you anything for your damages.
If you do choose to speak with the insurance company, keep it short. You could simply thank them for calling and refer them to your attorney. If you choose to say more, we recommend that you remain guarded and only provide basic facts. Do not embellish, say how you feel or claim any fault – leave that for accident investigators to determine. Additionally, do not discuss details about your injuries.
For example, you could say:
- You were involved in an accident and the time and location of the crash
- There was vehicle damage and you suffered injuries, but you have no further details about either at this time
- You will have your attorney contact them with more details
Avoid Insurance Company Tricks - Goldberg Finnegan is Ready to Help
At Goldberg Finnegan, you are never treated like a number or just another crash victim. If you have a case, we fight hard to get you maximum compensation.
Find out if you have legal options and learn how we may help. We have a strong history of proven results, recovering more than $130 million for our clients.
Contact our firm today – our staff are ready to take your call around the clock. Schedule your free initial consultation to get started. If you have a case and decide you want to move forward, there is zero cost while we handle your claim.
Call Goldberg Finnegan to discuss your rights today. (888) 213-8140