When you purchase insurance, you expect to be covered after a car accident. The purpose of insurance is to make sure you have the money to take care of property damage and medical costs after a wreck. Unfortunately, insurance doesn’t always work this way. After all, the main goal of insurance companies is to make money. This means insurers will make it difficult for you to receive a financial settlement after your accident.
Here are some of the ways insurance companies may be attempting to rip you off.
Making a Very Low Offer
If your car is totaled, the insurance company could offer you cash that is equal to the value of your vehicle. Sometimes, this amount isn’t enough for you to purchase another automobile. The insurer will usually base their offer on comparable vehicles and could try to reduce the value of your car due to minor repairs your car needed or the mileage on your vehicle.
Ignoring Your Pain and Suffering Claims
If your insurance company doesn’t acknowledge that your injuries are a direct result of your car accident, they can refuse to pay for your post-accident medical care. Insurers may also try to pay only a portion of your medical bills, which is known as paying a “reasonable and customary rate.” This rate is often much less than the actual cost of your hospital care, medication, and follow-up appointments, and you’ll be left paying for most of your medical bills on your own, even if you weren’t liable for the accident.
The American Medical Association has filed lawsuits against several insurance companies due to the manipulation of “reasonable and customary” data. Insurance companies use this trick to save money.
Convincing You to Admit Total or Partial Fault for the Accident
Insurance company representatives may ask questions that seem well-meaning, but these questions are designed to get you to admit that the accident was at least partially your fault. Insurers may ask questions that get you to downplay the extent of your injuries or the damage to your car. Unfortunately, it is legal for insurance companies to do this in many cases. They don’t have to tell you that they’re trying to get you to claim liability for your accident. In some cases, insurers will try to persuade you to submit a recorded statement or sign forms detailing your account of the accident. Make sure you consult with a lawyer before you do this.
Asking You to Sign a Medical Authorization Form
It is very important that you never submit a medical authorization form to the insurance company of the other party involved in your accident. This document could hurt your chances of getting a fair settlement. If you submit this form, the insurance company will have total access to all your medical records, not just the ones pertaining to your accident. This means that the insurance company can see your pre-existing conditions and any other injuries that are not related to your car wreck. The information in your medical records can be used as “evidence” to discredit your settlement claim by asserting that your injuries weren’t caused or worsened by the accident.
Offering a Final Payment Check
In some cases, insurance companies will offer you a final payment check shortly after your car wreck. After a car accident, your bills can pile up, but you may not be able to work due to your injuries or lack of transportation. Insurance companies know that it will be tempting for you to accept a lump sum to keep yourself afloat financially. However, the offer is often much too low to pay for pain and suffering, medical bills, and the purchase of a new vehicle. Don’t agree to a final payment check without consulting with an attorney first.
If you’ve been injured or suffered property damage after a bad car wreck, you can file for recovered damages at SinkLaw. The qualified legal team will work with you to get you the settlement you deserve. When insurance companies know you are represented by an attorney, they are less likely to try and rip you o