Insurance companies spend a lot of money on presenting an image to the public of a trusted service company that has your best interests in mind. From well-known spokespeople to catchy taglines, Big Insurance is not without its deceptive practices. Insurance companies make an effort to convince policyholders they can turn to them in their time of need. In actuality, insurance companies, even yours, employ many tactics to reduce every payout as much as they can. This increases their profit while shortchanging you. To help you recognize and outmaneuver these ploys, here's how to not fall prey to insurance company tactics.
Watch What You Say
Soon after your accident, the insurance company may call to have a friendly chat. Please note that these chats are strictly business for the insurance investigator. They are trying to gather information they can use to deny your claim. It's best to only correspond with insurance companies in writing or have an attorney do the talking for you.
Don't Sign a Release
To be clear, the insurance company will need to eventually see your medical records from your recent injuries before they will pay your claim. They need to corroborate every bill with the record of that visit or treatment. To do this, they will ask you to sign a medical release that will allow them unrestricted access to your medical history. It's important to restrict their access as much as you can. Work with an attorney to accomplish this. Typically this involves specifying what records they can access from what providers and timeframe in the release. Include specific names of providers, not just clinic or hospital names.
Also, specify in writing the time frame of records they can access. They don't need to read about a broken bone you treated a decade ago if it's not relevant. If you allow them full access to all your medical records, they will comb through them to find preexisting conditions, which could result in them refusing to pay for your medical treatment.
Don't Settle Without an Attorney
Insurance companies want to pay out as low a claim as possible as quickly as possible. Time is money for them. The more time you take to treat your injuries, the greater the value of your claim, and the more they have to pay. Thus, they will pressure you to settle early so you can pay your bills. Do not settle until you've spoken with an attorney and your physician. Once you cash the check, you can't ask for more money, even if you need more treatment. So take your time, and make sure you are fully treating your injuries.
Don't Believe Everything the Insurance Company Tells You
The insurance company will probably tell you that you don't need an attorney and that you can trust them to settle your claim for fair compensation. They might also tell you they don't have to pay all your medical bills or even that they aren't liable for your losses. In reality, they could be misrepresenting the truth. Remember, you are filing a claim against the policy. In this respect, the company does not have your best interests in mind. Their goal is to pay as small a claim as possible. Your goal should be to receive fair compensation. Because those objectives conflict, it's best to work with an attorney who can advise you of what you are entitled to, what the company must pay, and how you can get the compensation you deserve.
Big Insurance is big business. Insurance is a highly profitable industry that relies on sometimes-dishonest tactics to reduce claim payouts and increase their bottom line. Meanwhile, policyholders are not given the benefits they paid for. While there isn't much you can do to change these practices, you do have the power not to become a victim of them. It's best to speak with a California personal injury attorney whenever working with an insurance company on a claim. An attorney can ensure your rights are protected, which can help protect the value of your claim.
Do you need help getting the compensation you deserve? Fresno area personal injury attorney Christopher Martens can help you protect your interests and rights while settling your claim. Attorney Christopher Martens has the skills and knowledge needed to help ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Serving the Visalia and Fresno areas, The Law Offices of Christopher Martens can provide knowledgeable personal injury claim guidance. Call our office at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] for a free consultation.