Lowball Offers Are a Common Insurer Strategy
In an ideal world, insurance adjusters would offer you your rightful amount of compensation so that you could focus on healing and moving on. Unfortunately, that is contrary to the very nature of insurance companies because they seek to quickly settle your personal injury claim before you know the full extent of harm inflicted upon you.
A quick settlement may seem appealing and even fair — at first — but insurance adjusters are trained negotiators. After an accident, their job is to minimize the insurance company's payout. They do their best to smooth-talk you into thinking you have been offered a full and fair settlement that you'd be silly not to take. The insurance adjuster may use pressure techniques or even more sinister methods to convince you to settle. Do not fall for them.
Just a few of the tactics that insurance companies use after an accident include:
- Lowballing: The adjuster offers you a settlement offer and tricks you into accepting it even though it compensates you for only part of the harm you've suffered.
- Calling at bad times: An insurance representative may call you when you are short on time such as during the morning or while you're at work.
- Putting time constraints on offers: An adjuster may tell you that a settlement figure is a "one-time offer" or "subject to retraction at any moment."
- Changing adjusters: Adjusters often tell you they are "reassigning" your claim to another adjuster. This tactic is designed to frustrate and confuse you, making you prone to accept an offer so that you can end the unpleasant experience.
- Using goods or services to describe the value: To many people, hearing that their child's college education will be paid for is more psychologically appealing than receiving a straightforward $40,000 offer.
These are just a few of the more common techniques. The more serious your injury, the more devious and complicated the insurance company tactics are likely to be.
How to Deal With Insurance Companies
There are a few simple, yet crucial guidelines for dealing with insurance companies involved with your personal injury claim.
- Sign nothing without first consulting a personal injury attorney. If you haven't yet provided a statement to the insurer, do not do so until you have consulted a lawyer. Signing a settlement binds you and forfeits your right to collect for continued or future damages.
- Slow down. The adjuster will try to rush you into things. There are time limits on personal injury claims, but insurers will try to make their "phantom" time limits appear to legally bar you from bringing a claim in the near future. Contact a lawyer to get the truth on the time limits of a personal injury claim.
- Level the playing field. The insurance company's adjusters are trained negotiators. Even if you're careful, they can trick you into reducing the value of your claim or even hurting your chances of collecting anything. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney to level the playing field. A lawyer fully represents your interests.
Unfortunately, negotiation tactics aren't the only way that New York insurance companies try to avoid a full and fair payout.
Insurance Companies and Bad Faith
When you present a valid claim to an insurer and it improperly denies it, you may have a bad faith claim. Insurance bad faith actions protect consumers who are wronged by big insurance companies. Insurance bad faith tactics include improper claim rejection and unfair delay of claims.
Bad faith or not, an experienced NYC injury law firm can help you deal with the insurance company. A skilled attorney is not intimidated by large insurance companies and will work to see that you are fully compensated for your injuries.