You’ve been with the same insurance company for several years and in some cases decades. You paid your premiums on time and have never filed a claim until your accident. You expect your insurance company and the company of the person that hit you to evaluate your claim fairly. What you don’t know is that you are now in a game where you are treated as an object and a number, and the insurance company’s goal of the game is to pay out the smallest amount of money as possible. Then you discover the following tactics are used by the insurance companies to limit the dollar amount of your claim:
- Blame your current injuries on a prior accident or pre-existing condition;
- Blame your current injuries on something that happened after the accident;
- Point to gaps in your treatment (after the accident) to show that you aren’t as hurt as you say you are. In one of my cases the treatment gap was due to my client having previously scheduled surgery but that didn’t bother the insurance company from using this tactic;
- Point to the fact that you did not seek treatment immediately after the accident as evidence that you were not really hurt;
- Point to the fact that your car did not have much damage as evidence that you cannot possibly be hurt; and
- They attempt to limit payment by arguing you received excessive chiropractic treatment, or that future treatment predications by your doctors are speculative.
Fortunately, there are moves you can make in this game to increase your chances of winning.
- Beware of social media—Insurance companies can and do check your social media accounts. In situations involving substantial amounts of money they hire a private investigator to spy on you. Pictures of you water skiing and rock climbing a month after the accident will ensure you receive a low-ball offer. Everything you do will be scrutinized. It is imperative you present yourself in the best possible light. This usually means you should avoid posting on Facebook or risk destroying the value of your case.
- Keep a daily or weekly journal as your case warrants. I provide my clients with a journal to track impact on daily life, pain levels and management, missed activities, lost time at work, mileage traveling to and from treatment. During the settlement process, I will talk to you, your family members, your friends, and perhaps your boss. I need to know exactly how this accident affected your daily life. What activities could you do before the accident you can’t do now? How much more time does it take for you to brush your teeth now versus before? Keep track of how much longer it takes to do ordinary things you never gave much thought to. What about your sex life? Is it diminished or non-existent now? If so, your spouse will have a claim for loss of consortium, which adds more money into the equation. Ultimately, we need to quantify exactly how much this accident impacted your life.
- Hire an attorney that can effectively tell the story of how the accident impacted you and your family to the adjustor, mediator, judge and jury.
In Part II of this series I will discuss more moves you can make that will increase the value of your case and winning this game you had no choice in playing.
If you’ve been injured in an accident, please call attorney Don Morrell immediately to partner with you and beat the insurance company at their own game. Kendrick Law Group 407-641-5847 or email email@example.com.