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Common Tactics Insurance Companies Use to Fight Claims

Posted on April 29, 2024 in Personal Injury

If you have never before had to file a personal injury claim, it may come as a surprise to discover that the insurance company that receives your claim may not treat you fairly. Even if you have never missed a premium payment, your insurer may try to take advantage of you to protect its own profits. Familiarize yourself with common tactics that insurance companies use to fight claims so that you can fight back.

How insurance fights valid claims

Denying Liability  

If an insurance company can refute liability, or legal responsibility, for an accident, it can avoid paying a victim for his or her losses. An insurer may deny a claim by arguing that its policyholder is not the one to blame for the victim’s injuries or harm. It may try to place fault and liability with a third party or the victim.

Under California’s pure comparative fault laws, it is possible for a victim to recover partial compensation even if he or she contributed to an accident. The amount of money awarded to the victim will be reduced by his or her percentage of fault, however. If an insurance company can shift some of the blame to the victim, it will do so to save money.

Delaying the Investigation 

Delay tactics may be used by an insurance provider in the hopes that an injured victim will eventually give up and concede to the insurance company’s demands – such as accepting a lowball settlement offer to avoid waiting any longer. In California, insurance companies must settle claims within 85 days. If an insurance company needs longer than this to investigate, it must notify the claimant and give a valid reason.

Disputing the Victim’s Losses

If an insurance company cannot deny liability for an accident, it may switch tactics and cast doubts on the extent or existence of the victim’s losses. An insurer may question the claimant’s credibility and request further proof of losses than what was initially submitted with the claim. This may include further medical evidence proving an injury, an independent medical review or additional documentation of property damage. 

Monitoring Social Media

Insurance companies can search for evidence to use against a claimant through his or her social media accounts. This is why it is recommended that accident victims stay off of social media completely for the duration of a personal injury case. Changing privacy settings is not enough to keep an insurance company out.

An insurance provider may peruse photos, comments, status updates, location check-ins and even access private messages to look for reasons to deny coverage or reduce a settlement offer. One example is using a photo of a claimant out with friends as evidence to dispute a claim of loss of enjoyment of life.

Offering a Fast or Low Settlement

Insurance companies often take advantage of the fact that most claimants do not understand their legal rights or true case values. An insurer may offer a fast, low settlement and pressure a claimant to accept it right away. An insurer may use language like “best or final offer” to convince a claimant to accept the very first settlement without negotiating.

It is important not to fall for these tactics or any others that may be used to fight your claim. Instead of trusting an insurance company, protect your rights by hiring a Los Angeles injury lawyer to represent you during the claims process. Your lawyer will give you sound legal advice that you can trust to maximize your financial recovery after an accident.