Insurance companies are in the business to make money by investing your premiums and reducing claim payouts. While TV commercials portray insurance companies as being friendly and concerned about their customers, you must remember that for them, it comes down to the financial bottom line. Many Seattle accident victims are unpleasantly surprised after a serious car accident by the tactics their insurance company employs to avoid paying a fair settlement. Here are just a few things your insurance company may not want you to know about car accident claims:
Secret: A quick settlement offer is not necessarily a good thing for you – Oftentimes, when an insurance company offers a quick settlement for an auto accident claim, it’s because they know there is no way they can avoid a payout. This initial settlement is usually the lowest amount the insurance thinks they can get away with offering you. It is generally not beneficial for claimants to accept this quick offer, because it may be inadequate to cover all of your expenses.
Secret: You should wait to accept a final settlement from the insurance company until after you have fully recovered or reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). In general terms, maximum medical improvement means that you have either completely recovered from your auto accident injuries or your condition has stabilized to the point that your physician can clearly determine whether you will require ongoing medical care. Waiting until this point to sign a settlement release will allow you and your attorney to determine a fair settlement amount based upon current and future medical costs, loss of wages, etc. If you settle too soon, you forfeit your rights to compensation for future medical expenses and other losses related to your accident. You should get the claims process started before this point, however, especially because you must file your insurance accident claim within the statute of limitations.
Secret: Insurance companies will often delay or deny valid claims – If the insurance company thinks they can get out of paying your claim, they may use stalling techniques such as telling you they cannot find your paperwork and asking you to resubmit with the hope that you will get frustrated and give up on your claim. Fortunately, insurance companies are less likely to delay or deny claims for claimants with legal representation, so hiring a car accident lawyer can help you to receive a fair settlement for your injuries.
Secret: Information you provide to the insurance company may be used to deny your claim – Be wary about providing information or records to the insurance company before you have talked to an attorney. The insurance company wants to gain access to your medical records as soon as possible after an accident. This is because they can often use information in your medical records to deny your claim by arguing that your current injuries are a result of a past injury or a preexisting condition, not your auto accident. In addition, information you provide to the adjuster about the accident circumstances can be twisted so that it appears you were partially or completely at fault for the accident and your insurance company can deny the claim. It is best to consult an experienced auto accident lawyer before providing any information to the insurance company after a car wreck.