When it comes to personal injury claims, it is important for every victim and family to remember that insurance companies are not always on your side. When you pursue a case against the party at-fault for your injuries, be it an at-fault driver or property owner, you need to be aware their insurance provider will be defending the case. Although they may try to defend their policyholders and shield them from fault and liability, what they are really doing is defending their bottom line.
Insurance companies are corporations in business to make money, not pay compensation to victims. As such, these insurance companies prioritize profits over people, and are more concerned with paying your as little as they can, if anything at all, than they are about your well-being and future. That’s why it becomes critical to work with experienced personal injury lawyers like those at Spangenberg Shibley & Liber.
Since 1946, our Cleveland personal injury lawyers have been protecting the rights of seriously injured victims across Ohio and the rest of the United States. Because we know victims and families depend on us to level the playing field with large insurance corporations, we leverage our extensive experience and resources to fight for the maximum compensation possible. Over the years, we have become familiar with the tactics insurers use when handling claims, and how they often omit essential information when dealing with victims.
Here are 5 things the insurance company won’t tell you about your case:
- You don’t have to speak to them – Following an accident, the other party’s insurance provider will likely contact you to obtain a recorded statement. Although this is standard procedure, they will often capitalize on your unfamiliarity with the process and the chaotic set of events in your life to get you to speak. The truth is that you are not obligated by any law to speak with the insurance company or provide a recorded statement. Often, insurance adjusters attempt to get statements as soon as they can in order to have frazzled victims say things that can be used against them. Instead of making a statement, you can work with a lawyer who can handle communication with the insurance company on your behalf, or prepare you for any statements or depositions you may need to make at a future date.
- They may already know the answers to their questions – Many insurance companies have access to a national database they can access with your personal information. They will often use this database prior to speaking with you about your claim. This means that if they ask you if you have been involved in an auto accident or workers’ comp claim in the past, they likely already know the answer. This is another example of how they may attempt to catch you making statements that can be used against you, even if you make mistakes when answering. Additionally, they may have information from police reports or witness statements regarding your accident, and may pose these questions as if they are simply collecting facts.
- They can conduct surveillance – Insurance representatives will likely never volunteer information about their ability to request surveillance of your activities, especially if you have pre-existing or previous injuries. However, you should know that they can and that they will use any information they uncover during surveillance to fight your claim and pay you as little as possible.
- You can wait to settle – One of the most common tactics insurance companies use to pay as little as they can, especially when a victim does not have legal representation, is to settle a case as quickly as possible. These settlement offers are typically less than you need or deserve. Settling early on after an accident is never in your best interests, especially if you have serious injuries and require medical treatment. You simply won’t know how you will recover, what medical treatment or procedures you may require, or whether you may be left with future limitations and needs. You should never settle without knowing the full scope of your damages, as doing so can leave you on the hook for the cost of any current and future medical care.
- Denying liability doesn’t mean you don’t have a case – When an insurance company denies that their policyholder is at fault for causing an accident and liable for victims’ damages, that does not mean you don’t have a case. Denying liability is a common stance for insurance companies that don’t want to pay victims, but it can be effectively challenged and overcome with the assistance of experienced attorneys who know how to investigate, secure evidence, and build a clear and convincing case that can hold negligent parties accountable. Often, insurance companies will deny liability until it becomes clear they will need to litigate, or that they will lose. In these situations, they may quickly make settlement offers. You and your attorney can determine whether such a settlement fits your needs, or whether your case should proceed to trial.
Ultimately, you need to remember that when dealing with any insurance company representing an at-fault party, their motives are driven by profits, not by helping people. This sets the stage for actions that clearly show they only want to protect their profit margins, and will avoid giving you all of the facts and information you need to make a full and fair recovery. Fortunately, you can work with our legal team at Spangenberg Shibley & Liber to get the support of proven advocates who have your best interests in mind, and who can provide the counsel and support you need as you navigate the claim process.
If you have questions about a recent accident and how our firm can help you deal with the insurance company, do not hesitate to request a free consultation with a member of our team. To get started, call (216) 600-0114.