A personal injury can occur to anyone at any moment, and the consequences can be monumental. Luckily, individuals can file personal injury claims with insurance agencies in order to receive some amount of monetary compensation. Because personal injury accidents can be severe, insurance companies stand to lose a lot of money in compensating injured individuals. Insurance adjusters work to save their company as much money as possible. While most adjusters operate within the rules of their job, some adjusters have been known to try improper techniques in derailing the personal injury claim of an injured individual.
Personal injury attorneys are aware of these tricks, and those of us at Parrish DeVaughn want you to know when an improper tactic is being used on you. We’ve elaborated on three of the tactics below.
1) You Don’t Need to Settle with the Other Company
When more than two parties are involved in a personal injury claim, it is possible an insurance adjuster from one party will try and persuade you to negotiate with the insurance company of the other party involved. The adjuster may attempt to convince you that the other person or business is more responsible for your injury than the person or business the adjustor insures. If this happens, remind the adjustor (with civility) that until one party’s insurance company commits in writing to being the primary insurance carrier, you are legally allowed to file a claim against either involved party.
2) You Probably Haven’t Waited Too Long
A favorite tactic employed by shady insurance companies is to tell you that you waited too long to file a claim, and the delay between the accident and filing may disqualify your claim. This strategy is designed to make you panic. The insurance adjustor wants you to commit to the first, usually small, settlement offered out of fear that you may lose your claim entirely due to its tardiness. In reality, the statute of limitations is the only time limit on you filing a claim. As long as you’re within the statute of limitations, you can file a personal injury claim at any time. The adjustor may ask you why you waited so long to file your claim, but you don’t legally owe them any explanation.
If you file your claim through your personal insurance company, you may actually only have a set number of days to file the claim per the agreement in your policy. Even if you file outside of this time window, however, the company is still obligated to uphold your claim unless the tardiness of the claim impeded the company’s ability to investigate the claim (i.e. the accident scene has been cleaned up and no evidence is available).
3) You Don’t Need to Be “Out of Pocket”
With the exception of Californians, individuals in the U.S. do not need to tell an insurance adjustor about collateral forms of payment. People are protected in the law by the collateral source rule. This rule prohibits adjustors from considering your collateral sources of money when deciding on a settlement amount. The reasoning for this rule is simple: the party responsible for your injuries should not benefit from your decisions which provide you with collateral finances (i.e. you shouldn’t be entitled to less compensation just because you purchased health insurance and that insurance now pays your medical bills).
If You’ve Been Injured, Contact a Trusted Personal Injury Attorney
If you’ve had the misfortune of being involved in a personal injury accident, you need to protect yourself with great legal representation. Contact Parrish DeVaughn to find a personal injury attorney who will fight tirelessly to win your case and protect your interests.