When you are injured or ill and are dealing with insurance companies as a result, it’s difficult to know whether or not you are being treated fairly.
After all, insurance companies are in business to make a profit, not pay claims. They’re not on your side, and they’re not looking out for your interests. How do insurance companies work to pay as little as possible or nothing at all on your claim?
- They may try to pressure you into accepting a very low settlement offer early on in the process, before you realize the full cost of your treatment. Once you settle, the insurance company may not be responsible for paying any injury-related expenses later. This means that if you settle before your treatment is over and it turns out to be more expensive than you thought, you will be responsible for the bills.
- They may delay your claim, preventing you from getting the compensation you need to get treatment or reimburse your medical providers.
- They may deny your claim entirely.
- They may confuse you with a maze of paperwork and complicated, dense contracts full of legal language.
What are Your Rights During the Insurance Claim Process?
When you’re involved in an accident, you must file an insurance claim to recover compensation for your injuries, losses, and damages. It can feel like you’re all alone as you are going through the process of filing and settling an insurance claim, especially when you are dealing with an aggressive insurance adjuster. You assume what the insurance adjuster is telling you to do is what needs to be done to settle the insurance claim. While this may be true, what an insurance adjuster tells you is not always in your best interest. The insurance adjuster is working for the insurance company, not you!
In many cases, an accident victim doesn’t know his or her legal rights during the claim process. They follow the advice or expectations of the insurance adjuster because they assume it’s required. The insurance adjuster knows most accident victims are not aware of their rights and many adjusters take advantage of this fact. Therefore, it’s important that you are aware that you do have legal rights and that you understand those legal rights.
Don’t Blindly Follow The Instructions of an Insurance Adjuster
If an insurance adjuster tells you to go to a certain doctor, don’t assume you must follow his or her directions. You also don’t have to provide a written or recorded statement to the other party’s insurance carrier just because it asks for a statement. In addition, you are not required to provide a medical release to the insurance company before speaking with an attorney. You should tell the adjuster you want to consult with an attorney before providing any information or seeing a specific doctor requested by the insurance company. Why does an adjuster ask the accident victim to do these things?
The insurance adjuster is looking out for the best interest of the insurance company. Insurance companies want to make money and paying accident claims is contradictory to this goal. Therefore, the adjuster will do whatever they can to reduce the amount of compensation the company must pay to settle a claim. This includes taking advantage of a victim’s lack of knowledge about his or her legal rights. For example, the adjuster may tell you that you need to sign a medical release so they can verify your injuries for the claim. While this may be true, they may not tell you that the release is allowing them to obtain ALL medical records. The adjuster does NOT and should NOT see your entire medical history. They may find something they can use to lower the value of your claim.
Likewise, the insurance adjuster may tell you that you need to provide a statement so they can verify the facts before they can pay your claim. Again, they are trying to obtain information they can use to lower the value of your claim or deny your claim. Remember, anything you say can be used against you later in the claim process. The adjuster may get you to admit you were running late to get to work at the time of the crash. The insurance company may then try to argue you were speeding and contributed to the accident.
You also don’t have to sign any waivers or releases after your accident until you consult with an attorney. If you sign a release, you cannot include any other expenses for future damages. You should always consult with an attorney before signing a release or waiver after a car accident.
Protect Your Legal Right to Receive Compensation for Your Injuries
Dealing with insurance companies can be confusing and frustrating. It’s difficult for you to protect your rights and manage the requests and paperwork of insurance companies when you’re trying to recover. You have the right to consult with an attorney before providing a statement or signing any documents for the other party’s insurance company.
It is always in your best interest to consult an attorney after an accident. The insurance company for the other party does NOT have your best interest as its top priority, including the adjuster who is handling your case. The insurance company has a team of professionals protecting its interest; you deserve to have a team of legal professionals and attorneys working to ensure that your right to full compensation for your damages is protected. An experienced attorney on your side can help you navigate this process and make sure that insurance companies are not taking advantage of you.
At Kelley & Canterbury LLC, we focus on helping people navigate the complex insurance claims process involved in automobile, disability, health, and accident policies. We would be glad to use our experience to do the same for you.
If you have been involved in an accident or if your insurance coverage has been denied, give us a call today to schedule your free consultation. Our Anchorage personal injury lawyers will be on your side, at your side, every step of the way, helping you get fair compensation from insurance companies so that you can focus on getting better. It does not cost you anything to speak with an attorney to learn about your legal options regarding an insurance claim!