Espionage and Other Ways Insurance Companies Work to Reduce the Value of Your Traffic Injury Claim
Numerous factors of a car accident—including liability and personal losses—must be taken into account when estimating an injury settlement amount. Due to the unique circumstances associated with each factor, it is impossible to determine the exact amount a case is worth until the case is closed. However, although an exact amount can’t be guaranteed, a resourceful attorney can assess the following elements of your case to estimate an approximate value for your claim.
- Severity of injuries
- Severity of emotional trauma
- Severity of damages to personal property
These all try to estimate how the jury will relate to your pain and suffering.
- Impact of plaintiff and defendant testimonies
- Impact of witness testimonies
- Impact of expert testimonies
Expense and Financial Elements
- Cost of medical bills (including current and estimated future recovery expenses)
- Cost of lost wages (including any permanent effects on earning potential)
- Cost of your living situation (including whether you need to pay rent, mortgage expenses, etc.)
As any respectable lawyer will tell you, once the value of your claim has been estimated it is not set in stone. Research and reconnaissance performed by insurance companies can alter this estimation.
Insurance Reconnaissance to Expect
Insurance companies may say they’re in the business of protecting you when you need them, but first and foremost, they are profit-driven enterprises. This means if they can find a way to pay less for a settlement, that is precisely what they will do. Some common tricks you can expect (and therefore avoid) include:
- Using your own words against you. After an accident, even if you were not at fault, insurance adjusters will be falling all over themselves to get you to give a recorded statement as soon as possible. They may tell you that they want the details fresh and your memory sharp. Don’t fall for it. The truth of the matter is that the sooner they speak to you, the more likely it will be that you’ll say something that can be used against you later. Adrenaline, nerves, and emotions may get the best of you, and you could talk yourself out of a higher settlement.
- Stalking you online. After your accident, most attorneys will tell you to stay off Facebook—and there’s a good reason. The insurance company, especially in a high-value case, will almost certainly be monitoring social media and other resources to determine if you are actually injured to the degree you’ve claimed. Anything that sheds doubt on your injuries will show up in the courtroom, so stay off social media after an accident.
- Digging through your records. Most insurance companies subscribe to a claims database that gives them information on any claims you have filed over the decades, including auto, homeowner’s, and workers’ compensation claims. They know about previous injuries you’ve had, previous wrecks you have been involved in, and what you settled for—and they can use that information to determine how little they can get away with offering you for your current settlement.
If you only take one thing away from this article, let it be the fact that if you have been involved in a serious accident, you need to speak to an attorney right away. Your insurer knows your history and your present circumstances, and can use tiny details to justify offering you less money. That’s just wrong!
Come put your future into the hands of someone who genuinely cares about your accident and recovery—put it in the hands of Attorney Steve Lee. Contact us today at 713-921-4171 or 1-800-232-3711. Just like a good friend, help is available 24 hours a day with the added benefit of a FREE consultation. Call now!