Insurance Company Tatics
Be careful: the objective of the adjuster is to get you to make statements that may hurt your case later on. For example, you may have broken your wrist and hurt your neck in an accident, but the day after the crash, when the insurance adjuster calls you, the only thing that is bothering you is your broken wrist. Later, after you have stopped taking the pain medications that they gave you at the hospital for your wrist, you realize that your wrist will heal, but your neck may not. It is also common for the adjuster to take statements from people who have been prescribed heavy pain medications and who are not thinking clearly. Later on, the insurance company will use this recorded statement or notes taken by the adjuster to cast doubt on your neck injury claim (or whatever other legitimate injury was caused by the accident).
Tips for When the Insurance Company Calls:
Be Verbally Cautious
Hire an Attorney
Do NOT sign ANY Forms
Delays to Wear You Down
Surveilling Your Day to Day
They are NOT Your Friend
Not Hire an Attorney? — Wrong!
The insurance adjuster may tell you not to hire an attorney. In fact, the very nice insurance adjuster may offer you a small settlement in exchange for releasing your claim forever. They often suggest that, if you hire an attorney, any money you receive will just go to the lawyer.
Don’t Sign Any Medical Authorization Forms!
The insurance adjuster may ask you to sign medical authorization forms to obtain all of your medical records. These forms are usually drafted to allow the insurance company to obtain all of your medical information and will not be limited to your medical records regarding this accident. It allows the insurance company to go on a fishing expedition for any other past medical problems that might be completely irrelevant to the pain you are experiencing. In fact, this medical authorization form will allow them to go back and obtain private medical information even if it is 20 years old. If you have ever seen a psychologist, counselor, or psychiatrist in the past, this release form authorizes them to get all of these personal records as well.
Misrepresentation of Insurance Policies
The insurance adjuster may misrepresent insurance policy benefits. Sometimes the adjuster will not give you accurate information about the amount of insurance coverage that is available to you. This misinformation could come from both the adjuster of the at-fault person as well as your own insurance company. For example, your own insurance adjuster may not tell you about all of the Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage you are entitled to or that they failed to obtain the proper UM rejection forms when you bought your insurance. Sometimes a business may be responsible if the driver of the vehicle was on a business mission, even if they were not driving a company vehicle. The insurance adjuster may use this misinformation to entice you to accept a lower settlement than would otherwise be warranted.
Delay Tactics to Wear You Down!
The insurance adjuster knows that you need money if you are out of work and have medical bills piling up. They know that you’re household expenses, such as mortgage or rent payment, car payment, credit card payments, utility bills, are getting further and further behind. They know many people, at some time, will throw up their hands and say, “enough!” and accept the insurance company’s “low ball” offer.
They May Be Watching You! Surveillance
The insurance adjuster may have you placed under surveillance. Insurance companies are notorious for trying to make a legitimately injured person appear healthy. Just because you can drag your garbage can to the curb, do some housework, and maybe a little yard work, does not mean that you are not going to “pay” for it later by having more pain. Many injured people have to “work hurt” to put food on the table for their families.
A Little Too Friendly to Be Friends?
The insurance adjuster may act as your friend. The insurance claims adjuster may befriend you and make it appear that she or he is looking out for your best interest, when in fact they are not. Sometimes the adjuster will give you advice about the type or frequency of your medical treatment and then be unwilling to pay for all your medical expenses. Sometimes the claims adjuster encourages you to get back to work immediately even though your own doctor has advised you otherwise.