You didn't think we were done listing all the tricks of the insurance adjuster's trade with our previous three posts, did you? These posts are geared towards Bellingham car accident victims who are just beginning the insurance claim process. Today’s topic concerns more crafty ways that insurance adjusters will try to limit your payout.
One of the tricks insurance adjusters will try is to get a recording of you talking about your accident and claim. Of course they will try to get in writing anything about you that they can, including your complete medical records. They may also try to ask you for a recorded statement. This may seem innocent on the surface, because after all you’ve been telling the truth about the events of the accident and the injuries it caused. Many car accident victims decide to go along with this, but the unfortunate fact is that insurance adjusters will try to sneak in questions you may not expect, and catch you off guard. These questions may be taken out of context and limit your claim. Even something really innocent-sounding, such as the pleasantries exchanged can matter. For example, the adjuster may ask you, “How are you today?” Just as anyone would. However, if you answer the usual, “I’m fine, thanks,” then they could use that to mean you’re doing just fine after your accident! And if that’s true, then why would they pay for injuries that you're claiming have made you quite the opposite of feeling fine? Be very careful about what you say, and avoid recorded statements completely. It is all too easy to spin recorded statements.
Another unfortunate play in their playbook: insurance adjusters can delay the payment of your claim. This isn’t just because they’re busy and bureaucratic, but tactical. They know that, as a car accident victim, you’ve likely been recovering from injuries that required multiple doctors’ visits, time away from work, and other losses such as the financial impact of wrecking your vehicle. All of these things are stressful taken one by one, but added together can be extremely nerve-wracking, and have a real toll on your finances. You may even know someone who has been bankrupted due to unpaid and accumulated medical bills, as these can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Insurance adjusters know that you’re in this bind. They can “sweat you out” while dangling a meager sum of money, usually an amount much smaller than what would otherwise be reasonable. When those bills start piling up, and your health is starting to improve even though your medical team still recommends continued treatment, you might want to just be done with it and end the stress of financial hardship. But patience is paramount here, and if you agree to a small sum of money, that would be all you’d get. If you knew you could get double what they were offering, wouldn’t it be worth it to hold out?