Common Insurance Adjuster Ploys You Need To Watch Out For
Insurance claims adjusters use many games to try to get quick settlements. These quick settlements are a ploy to give the injured person less than what he or she is entitled to receive. Here are a few of the most common adjuster tricks:
“I’d Like To Take Your Statement”
Insurance adjusters are paid to investigate claims and gather facts. One way they do this is by getting statements from all of the parties involved in an accident. They also want to get statements from all witnesses. After getting all the available facts, the adjuster makes a decision about whether to pay or deny a claim. Central to any investigation is the statement.
Adjusters usually try to get either a recorded or signed statement. If they’re not able to get either, they will ask for an interview.
A recorded statement is NOT okay! DON’T trust the adjuster! The main goal of the insurance company is to pay you less than your claim is worth. Because of this, the adjuster asks questions in a statement that are meant to favor the insurance company.
“Please Sign This Medical Authorization Form”
Your adjuster will probably ask you to sign a Medical Authorization form. Such forms are written very broadly, which gives the adjuster the ability to delve into your complete medical history. This allows the adjuster to pry into all of your medical issues and pre-existing conditions.
You should be very cautious about signing these types of sweeping medical releases, like many people do on a regular basis. Many times, injured people who sign these types of forms are desperate for some type of financial recovery from the insurance company. They may believe that the more they cooperate with the adjuster, the better their chances of getting a quick settlement.
Other people may simply not want the hassle involved in getting their own medical records. Most adjusters will insist that they will need copies of all of your medical records and bills to evaluate your injury claim. They will tell you that you can either “run around trying to get all this information yourself” or let the insurance company do the “legwork” for you. While it may seem more convenient to let the adjuster get the records, this is rarely a good idea. The Medical Authorization forms that the insurance company sends out are often used against the injured person who mistakenly thinks the form will speed up the process.
There is no legal requirement for an injured person to sign a Medical Authorization form to get a settlement from an insurance company. In fact, an insurance adjuster who tells you that a Medical Authorization form must be signed may be misrepresenting what the law says and, perhaps, what the insurance policy says.
Things to remember:
- Be very wary about signing any Medical Authorization form
- Refuse to sign a Medical Authorization form that is open-ended. Have the insurance company agree that the form will be limited to medical bills and reports that only pertain to the accident that occurred on a specific date and treatment resulting from that accident. Refuse to sign a Medical Authorization form that remains in effect for an indefinite time period.
- Be sure that the Authorization states that it is only valid for a certain number of days after it is signed.
“Why Do You Need A Lawyer? I’ll Work With You.”
Insurance adjusters almost always want to prevent an attorney from becoming involved in a case. This is true because the cost of a claim usually goes up when an attorney enters the scene.
Claims adjusters like to deal with injured people who aren’t represented by a lawyer. This is because they believe the unrepresented person won’t be as sophisticated and experienced with legal matters and will settle the claim for less money.
Adjusters use various ploys to convince injured people not to get an attorney. You’ll often hear them say:
- “Your claim won’t be any more valuable just because you get a lawyer.”
- “The lawyer takes a third of your settlement. Why should you pay a lawyer when we can work things out?”
- “Why do you need a lawyer? I’m looking out for your best interests.”
- “If you get a lawyer, we won’t be able to work together on this claim any more.”
- “If you get a lawyer, it will slow down the settlement process.”
- “If you get a lawyer, we’ll have to hire one and then take your deposition.”
- “If you don’t take this settlement amount, we’ll withdraw all offers.”
Read more on this topic in our article “5 Ways Insurance Adjusters Reduce the Value of Your Claim“
We Are Here To Help
If you’ve become frustrated with how the insurance company is handling your claim, you will want to seek the assistance of an experienced personal injury firm. We are here to help.
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.
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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.