Insurance companies will seek to decrease or eliminate payments for injuries caused by an insured person’s actions.
After becoming injured, victims of accidents want nothing more than to move on from the traumatizing experience. Unfortunately, due to the tactics of insurance companies, accident victims are faced with excessive paperwork, lengthy phone calls, and repetitive interrogations. This can last for months, even years.
Insurance Scheme 1: Deny
Under Minnesota’s bad faith statutes, if an insured person can prove that an insurance company denied a claim for no worthy reason, a court can order compensation from the company because of this wrongdoing. Unfortunately, that is not enough to stop them from trying. Insurance companies have their own attorneys who are familiar with current laws and loopholes. They may try to cite technicalities to deny your claim and protect their bottom line.
Insurance companies could have a tough time denying the destruction from a fire or a multiple car pile-up. But many injury-causing accidents are subtle. Following an accident, adrenaline is high, and it can mask pain. When you walk away seemingly unscathed, insurance companies can try to use that as evidence against you. That’s one reason why it’s important to get documented medical care following an accident.
When they’re unsuccessful in denying damages, insurance companies will try to minimize the severity of your injuries in an attempt to minimize what they have to pay you. This is more apt to happen with injuries they consider healable such as broken bones and whiplash. The reality is that injuries like these can come with chronic pain, and you should be compensated accordingly.
Insurance Scheme 2: Delay
If you’ve ever called a large corporation of any kind, you probably know what it feels like to be placed on lengthy holds and passed around from department to department in search of answers. Insurance companies are no exception. They can make it difficult to get updates about the status of your claim and will have you jumping through hoops.
Their stall tactics are designed to exhaust you in hopes that you’ll give up on trying to collect. Even when they know they have to pay out eventually, it’s in their best interest to hold onto what is known as free float, money that insurance companies set aside to pay claims. Instead of paying you in a timely manner, insurance companies can keep that money in investments. The longer they stall, the more they make. Meanwhile, you’re going without.
Confusing the Victim
Accidents happen quickly. In the midst of being injured, it’s virtually impossible to take in every detail. Likewise, in the aftermath, it’s normal to be in a daze. Insurance companies know you’re not in the best frame of mind, and their agents can take advantage of this. Be especially wary if the other party’s insurance company tries to contact you directly. They may attempt to lead you into sharing details that will make the accident look like your fault.
Insurance companies use written documents to confuse you as well. Reading insurance documents can feel like reading the terms and conditions after downloading a new app. Most of us are guilty of skimming. Insurance companies know this. As such, they’re hoping we’ll overlook important details. While they should communicate with consumers in plain language, their policies are often not straightforward. Consequently, you may not notice if they’re not providing all of the coverage they’re supposed to.
Waiting for Death
In some circumstances, an insurance company will intentionally delay the outcome of a claim, waiting for the injured party to pass away. This is more common when they stand to lose substantial sums as well as when the accident victim is critically ill or especially elderly. If the insurance company has their way, no one will pursue the claim after a death. However, survivors can still recover compensation for a loved one’s estate.
Insurance Scheme 3: Defend
To lessen their payout, insurance companies can try to shift a percentage of the fault to you by claiming your actions contributed to your injury. Say, for example, you’re hit by a driver who ran a light. The insurance company will look for evidence that you were somehow breaking a traffic law such as going over the speed limit. Similarly, a company may claim that your injuries are a result of prior trauma rather than the accident in question.
Using the Upper Hand
With 78% of Americans living paycheck to paycheck, it’s clear that it is difficult to get by in the best of times. Insurance companies know that this is doubly true for accident victims who are grappling with lost wages and medical bills. They’re known for offering lowball amounts to entice those who are struggling to settle.
Contact an Experienced Attorney
Following an accident-related injury, the recovery process itself is lengthy and grueling as is. The rest shouldn’t be drawn out any further than necessary. At Sand Law, we are committed to lightening the burden for our clients so they can move forward in peace. If you’ve been injured, our experienced attorneys will combat the underhanded insurance tactics to secure the utmost compensation for you. Contact us online or call us for a free consultation at 651-291-7263.