While auto insurance companies are not “bad guys” out to deliberately deprive you of the money you need to recover from a car accident, they are like other businesses in that they are motivated mainly by profit. This aim can, unfortunately, manifest itself by paying out as little as possible when you make a claim.
Below are three questionable tactics that auto insurers have been known to use to deny or limit a legitimate motor vehicle accident claim. A New York personal injury attorney can help you challenge all of them so that you are not forced to settle for less than your case is really worth.
Questioning the severity of your injuries
You’ve experienced certain injuries and have documentation from your treating physician to support your claim, but insurance companies may still try to question how badly you were really hurt. For example, if you didn’t go to a hospital emergency room immediately after the accident because you didn’t realize or feel the extent of your injuries until hours or days afterward, then the insurer may attempt to use this delay to show that you are exaggerating your pain or limitations. They may even call on doctors in their employ to support their assertions. This is a bullying tactic that your personal injury attorney can help you confront and overcome with solid medical evidence.
Blaming you for the accident
Even if you submit a police report confirming that you were not at fault for the collision, some insurance companies will try to reduce their payout by claiming that you were indeed at fault. They will even go to great lengths to ‘prove’ your culpability, such as allege that you stopped too suddenly or your car was too poorly maintained to support defensive driving and prevent the accident.
Refusing to accept a reasonable settlement in bad faith
In an ideal world, legitimate insurance claims are paid without delay and in the full amount that you are legally entitled to. The reality is that the need to turn a profit will drive some companies to delay and even deny the payment of legitimate claims. If you offer to settle at or near the coverage limit and your claim has no serious deficiencies, then your insurer may decline, presuming that they won’t have to pay more than the policy limit. Don’t be deterred: if they lose at trial, then rejection of the settlement offer is seen as an act of bad faith, and they can be forced to pay a judgment that exceeds the limit of your policy.
When you have been seriously injured in a car accident, you should focus your energies on recovering, not struggling to get the compensation you are entitled to simply because the insurer wants to protect its bottom line. An experienced New York personal injury attorney can help make sure that your insurance company treats you fairly and compensates you in full, so you can treat your injuries and rebuild your life. Call the law office of Jayson Lutzky, P.C. if you have experienced an injury and are seeking compensation for lost wages, pain and suffering and/or for medical bills. Mr. Lutzky’s office may be reached at 718-329-9500. The attorney offers free in-person initial consultations and home and hospital visits in the event of a serious injury.