Three Tricky Tactics of Car Insurance Companies
If you have recently been in a car crash, it is likely that you were contacted by a car insurance company. Typically, they are very friendly in the beginning when they reach out to claimants. However, as nice as they might be, you need to remember that, as with any company they are in business to make a profit, which means your best interests are not their priority. So, when an auto insurance company tries throughout your claim to use clever tactics to save their bottom line at your expense, you should not be surprised.
Lowball Settlement Offers
One of the most common car insurance company tactics is offering a “lowball settlement.” An offer that has been deliberately calculated lower than what a claimant needs or deserves after a crash is referred to as a lowball settlement. Often, they can be less than 50% of what the claim value is.
Lowball settlement offers are irreversible once accepted, which is the reason why insurance companies love to use them. Your claim is closed and is almost impossible to reopen once you sign a settlement offer, irrespective of the amount. Let your car crash attorney review any offer and advise you before you accept it. Insurance companies will say the offer is only good for a few days to rush you into signing, but the truth is that actual offers are valid until the claimant has responded.
Another tactic insurance companies like to use is to call a claimant soon after an accident to try and get you to provide a recorded statement then and there. To keep you from getting scared and hanging up, they’ll probably not be very aggressive on the phone. They will probably use professional or confusing language to keep you on the line and hopefully say something on the record.
The reason why they want your statement on record is so they can find something to misinterpret into an admission of guilt which will increase your liability or decrease the nature and extent of your injuries, either way leaving you with a lower settlement value of your claim. Your safest option is to tell the at fault party insurance company, you will not be giving them a recorded statement. First, call your car crash attorney to talk about it.
There are deadlines and statutes of limitation that insurance companies must follow with every step of a car crash claim. For example, in Washington State, car insurance companies must acknowledge their receipt of the notice of a claim within 10 working days of its original filing. WAC 284-30-360. Every insurer must complete its investigation of a claim within thirty days after notification of claim unless the investigation cannot reasonably be completed within that time. WAC 284-30-370.
Some insurance companies want to make you feel discouraged and unsure about your claims validity by using every single minute of each deadline before doing anything. All this in the hope that you will either drop the claim or accept a lowball settlement offer. Sometimes they wait to see how desperate you are to accept a low offer.
Do not let delaying tactics get to you. Team up with an experienced personal injury lawyer who can monitor the progress of your claim and press the insurance company for missing required deadlines.
The bottom line is car insurance companies are looking after their own interests. When you’ve been in a car crash, you need an experienced, tenacious car crash attorney looking after your interests. Contact Cunnane Law today, and we can help you avoid every tactic the insurance companies use that might trick you and cause you not to get full value on your claim. And remember, before you sign your name, call Joe Cunnane.
Note: This information was provided not for any specific claim and is written in board and general terms and may not be the right path to follow for a particular claim or case. This information is not intended to create an attorney client relationship. It is always best to receive direct legal counsel for your legal issues. It is never too early to call the attorney, but it can be too late.