5 Ways Insurance Adjusters Reduce the Value of Your Claim
Adjusters at insurance companies get paid to deny or reduce the value of your injury claim. That’s their job. If you get an adjuster on your injury claim who does his or her job well, your claim will likely either be denied or you will get a reduced value offer. That’s just the way it is. Here is a list of 5 ways insurance adjusters reduce the value of your claim:
1) Argue pre-existing conditions and other similar problems. Many times, adjusters will ask the accident victim to sign a release to get all of the medical records to find the pre-existing conditions. You should NEVER sign a release for the insurance adjuster to get your medical records without first talking with an experienced personal injury lawyer. The adjuster wants to go on a fishing expedition and will fish for any possible problem listed in your past medical records to deny or reduce the value of your claim.
Contributory Negligence and Comparative Fault
2) Point out any problems with contributing to the accident or fault by the injured person. In Virginia, this is called contributory negligence and can mean the loss of the case if the injured person was even slightly at fault. West Virginia, on the other hand, is a comparative fault state. This means that in determining how much will be paid on a claim, courts will make a determination about the percentage of fault in a case. Each party is assigned a percentage, reflecting the level of fault each had in causing the injury. Often, an adjuster’s settlement offer is based on their determination of the percentages of fault that they attribute to each party. This is why it’s important to have an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side who can build your case and potentially minimize the reduction of the claim’s value due to contributory negligence or comparative fault.
Criminal History and Prior Claims
3) Highlight personal flaws of the injured person such as criminal history as well as prior accidents and claims. If you have a criminal history or have had a history of being involved in prior accidents, some insurance adjusters will use that information to reduce the value of your claim. But, there are ways to minimize the importance of this information and focus in on what is most important . . . your accident and injuries.
Discounting Medical Bills
4) Adjusters will frequently place less emphasis on certain medical bills. For instance, in the early stages of medical treatment if bills are incurred quickly and early in the treatment, adjusters will often discount the value of those early bills. Frequently, in the early stages of treatment, an injured person may undergo substantial amounts of testing. The adjuster proceeds on the belief that the injured person has not experienced much pain and suffering during the process of getting diagnosed.
Discounting Diagnostic Tests
5) When the injured person has no real objective or visual signs of physical injuries like broken bones, bruising, etc., many adjusters will lessen the value of expensive tests. Tests such as MRIs and CT scans are usually very expensive and insurance companies don’t like to pay full value for them. So, when there are no real objective indications of injury, the insurance company will frequently reduce the value for these tests unless the test results reveal the injury.
Read more on this topic in our article “Common Insurance Adjuster Ploys“
How Long Can I Wait to Call a Lawyer?
When you’re injured in an auto accident in Virginia or West Virginia, you must be aware of the statute of limitations which applies in your particular case. The statute of limitations refers to the time you have following an accident to file a lawsuit. In both Virginia and West Virginia, this time limit depends upon the circumstances of your accident and injury. The time limitation starts to run on the date of the accident. Filing a claim with an insurance company does not extend or delay the time.
The longer you wait to contact an attorney, the greater the risk that the statute of limitations time limit will expire. If it does, you may lose your right to sue the at-fault party and recover compensation for your injuries. If you’ve been seriously injured and someone else is at fault, you should contact a personal injury attorney at the earliest possible time. Contacting an experienced personal injury lawyer early in your case will help prevent deadlines from expiring and will allow your case to be properly prepared.
To be able to determine whether you have a case, your lawyer needs to thoroughly investigate the details about your accident and injuries. Investigating the accident and collecting information is much easier if it occurs quickly after the accident has happened. A time delay can result in many problems like lost evidence and witnesses who can’t be found.
When you hire a lawyer to handle your car accident claim, he or she will first negotiate with the insurance company to try to settle your claim. If settlement negotiations break down, your attorney will prepare to file a lawsuit and prepare your case for trial. For this reason, it is especially important that you get an experienced lawyer to help with your case, such as one certified through the National Board of Trial Advocacy.
Talk With A Virginia And West Virginia Car Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one suffered significant injuries in a car accident in Virginia or West Virginia, Ritchie Law Firm is here to help. The experienced, certified attorneys at the Ritchie Law Firm has helped thousands of injured victims and their families recover the compensation they deserve after an accident. Contact us by phone at 800-277-6124 or by using our online contact form.
Ritchie Law Firm is a personal injury law firm devoted to helping individuals who have suffered serious and catastrophic injuries or lost a loved one as a result of someone else’s negligence. Ritchie Law Firm serves all of Virginia, while helping clients in cities and surrounding areas of Winchester, Harrisonburg, Charlottesville, and Staunton, and also serves clients in West Virginia, including Martinsburg, WV.
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