What To Do When You Think the Insurance Company Has Ghosted You Or Is Stonewalling?
Does it seem like the insurance company is dragging its feet on your personal injury claim? If so, your adjuster might be trying to stonewall you. This means that the insurance company deliberately delays the settlement of your claim to try to wear you down. The hope is that they’ll wear you down enough that you will take a low offer just to end the frustration. Stonewalling can take many forms, including:
Silence is probably the most frustrating stonewalling technique. Here, the adjuster just stops communicating with you. He doesn’t respond to any of your phone calls, emails, or even letters.
“I don’t have the authority to settle for the amount you requested”
Usually, insurance adjusters have to get authority from a supervisor, or someone higher up, to settle a claim. But, if your adjuster makes this claim a lot, you are probably getting stonewalled.
Learn more on this topic in our article, “5 Ways Insurance Adjusters Reduce the Value of Your Claim“
Mike Ritchie discusses what to do if the insurance company is ignoring you in this video:
“Your claim is being reviewed”
This happens when the adjuster tells you that the “wheels are in motion.” She will often say that your claim is “in committee,” or is “being reviewed by the home office, or is “waiting for a supervisor’s approval.” Here, the adjuster’s game is to dangle the carrot of a future settlement in front of you in hopes that you will just keep waiting.
“I need more proof”
The adjuster has copies of all your medical and bill, and evidence of your lost wages, but says he needs more “documentation.” If you have been waiting for an offer for a long time, these requests for more documentation are just a game to try to delay payment of your claim.
“I’m just getting up to speed on your file”
Some insurance companies have a high turnover rate in their claims adjuster departments. BUT, some companies just like to move claim files from one adjuster to another. There is usually a purpose behind all of this file moving . . . TO STALL. If you are constantly dealing with a new claims adjuster, the reason might be to try to stonewall your claim and delay payment.
“We can settle all of your claims or none of your claims”
Your adjuster might try to leverage one of your claims against another. For example, if you have a property damage claim and a claim for your injuries, some adjusters might refuse to settle car damage claim unless you also settle your injury claim (RIGHT NOW AND FOR A LOW AMOUNT).
Learn more on this topic in our article “Common Insurance Adjuster Ploys“
What Should I Do If This Happens To Me
If your insurance adjuster tries one or more of these tactics on you, you have a few options:
- You can wait and let the negotiations play out on the adjuster’s schedule for a while longer. Just be careful that you don’t wait too long and let the statute of limitations run on filing a lawsuit for your claim.
- You can try to send a demand letter to the adjuster. Again, be careful of the statute of limitations.
- You can get an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side. Depending on how much time has already passed, this might be your best option. Insurance companies often do very little to settle promptly and fairly with people who are not represented by a lawyer. Stonewalling can be profitable for the insurance company because it often forces the injured party to accept less than their claim is worth. So, it frequently takes having an attorney get involved to get the adjuster’s attention and get the wheels of negotiation in motion.
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.