Sustaining a traumatic injury is already stressful. Filing a personal injury lawsuit can help you get restitution for that ordeal, but the process can wrack your nerves in the meantime. As you pursue your case, the defendant’s insurance company will employ a wide variety of tactics to wear you out. Their goal is to get you to drop the suit, so they won’t have to pay a settlement. They have a vested interest in getting you to give up.
Don’t let their manipulation intimidate you, though. Before you do anything, contact a personal injury attorney and tell them every detail of your injury and the aftermath. If they decide to partner with you on an injury suit, they can help you fight back against these deceptive tactics. Personal injury lawyers have seen it all before—we’re not afraid, and you shouldn’t be, either.
Look out for these five insurance tactics used against personal injury victims and work with your lawyer to push through them.
This tactic may seem friendly on the surface. The defendant’s insurance company recognizes that you are in pain, and they want you to remember them rushing to help you. Dangling quick money in front of you is, in their minds, the easiest way to get you to drop your suit.
However, when you meet with your attorney, they will ask you for a comprehensive collection of medical bills and other documentation related to your injury. Those bills help your attorney determine how much your settlement should be; we don’t want you to settle for any less than you deserve.
For example, if you’ve been in a car accident and sustained multiple injuries, the at-fault party’s insurance company may rush to give you a few thousand dollars as compensation. However, if you look at your medical bills and add up those expenses, you might see that the insurance company is lowballing you. They’re not interested in fully compensating you and helping you pay your medical expenses. They want you to leave them alone.
How long are you and your attorney waiting for that insurance company to return your calls? They may be deliberately ignoring you. There are a couple of reasons for this ploy.
First, they want to wear you down. If they refuse to return your calls and emails for weeks at a time, they’re hoping that you get frustrated and give up. The longer they take to review your claim, the longer they can put off paying you.
Secondly, they’ve got their eye on the statute of limitations. The state of Idaho allows you to file personal injury claims up to two years after the date of your injury. Two years may seem like a long time to you, but it’s par for the course within the justice system. If the insurance company doesn’t cooperate, your attorney’s job grows more difficult as they try to push your case through.
They can also deny your claim outright. They’ll say they’re not liable for your injury or that you don’t have sufficient evidence to take them to court. Ensure all your correspondence with the at-fault party’s insurance company goes through your attorney. You don’t have to take the insurance company at their word.
This tactic is the large-scale version of saying, “I’m sorry, I don’t have any cash on me,” with a full wallet in your pocket. Misrepresenting their benefits is one of the shadiest tactics out there, and it’s one that can get the insurance company into more legal trouble if they engage in it.
If the insurance company tells you that they can only pay a certain amount towards your settlement, tell your attorney so they can investigate further. When the insurance company extends a lowball settlement offer, they may accompany it with a sincere-sounding apology that they “can’t” pay more. Investigate those claims with your lawyer—if you catch the insurance company in a lie, you may be able to collect damages from them as well.
The insurance company knows you’re not as versed in the legal system as your attorney is. They may drop you a friendly call or email, wondering if they can ask a few questions. While their questions may be easy to answer, there’s an ulterior motive behind them—they’re trying to gather evidence against you.
A talented personal injury lawyer in Boise will advise you against posting on social media, as the internet is an easy place to pick up information. Whenever you post on your social media page, assume that that insurance company will read it.
Again, avoid corresponding directly with the defendant’s insurance company. Let your lawyer be the in-between—they’ll recognize and catch on to those manipulative tactics quickly. Even if the insurance company only asks, “How are you doing?” and you respond, “I’m feeling better,” they can weaponize your answer. They can argue that your injury can’t have been that bad.
Much like with social media posts, recorded statements stick around and can come back to bite you later. If an insurance adjuster shows up at your door with a friendly request to record you, deny that request and say as little as possible.
Remember: they’re gathering evidence against you. If the opposing party contacts you before you reach out to an attorney, they have more opportunities to befriend and betray you. They’ll have intentionally leading questions prepared, and they’re banking on you accidentally spilling valuable details.
Everybody slips up sometimes when they speak. We word our sentences confusingly and then correct ourselves. With a straightforward audio recording, the insurance company can pick apart your words if you misspeak. Silences speak volumes. An impromptu voice recording can unravel your case—make sure you have an attorney on your team before interacting with the insurance company.
When pursuing a personal injury claim, be wary of the other side’s ploys and tactics. If you consult with an attorney and they confirm that you’ve got a strong case, work closely with them instead of trying to do it all yourself. Insurance companies prey on injury victims who don’t know how the legal process works.
During the lawsuit process, your attorney will point out several insurance tactics used against personal injury victims. With top-tier legal representation, you can avoid falling into these traps.