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Strategies Used by an At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Company to Deny or Low-ball Claims [Part I]

When you are involved in an car accident in Miami or other areas in South Florida, you might be saddled with overwhelming medical bills at a time when you are unable to work.  If you are disabled for an extended period of time, you might struggle to pay your mortgage, car note, and other monthly expenses.  While an injury victim can pursue legal compensation from a negligent driver, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will usually handle the claim and pay the settlement or judgment unless the at-fault driver is uninsured.

While an insurance company owes a legal duty of good faith and fair dealing to its policyholder, the other driver’s insurer does not have an obligation to treat your fairly.  Rather, the insurer of an at-fault driver has an adversarial relationship with a plaintiff seeking damages, and the insurer will use a range of strategies to avoid paying a claim or to minimize any payment.  Our experienced Miami car accident lawyers have provided some examples of strategies that insurers might use to prevent injury victims from receiving the full value of their legal claim in this two-part blog post.

Requesting a Recorded Statement: The insurer for the at-fault driver might contact you and ask that you agree to provide a recorded statement.  The insurance adjuster might seem cordial and helpful, but the adjuster’s job is to ensure you receive as little compensation as possible for your claim.  Although the adjuster might contend that the recorded statement will allow the insurance company to evaluate your claim and cut you a check, the purpose of the recorded statement is to acquire information that can be used to deny or lowball your claim.

Stalling Settlement of the Claim: Insurance companies benefit from any delay in paying a claim because the money that would be used to satisfy a settlement or judgment can remain invested and earning a return for the insurance company.  By contrast, an injury victim who is facing prolonged time off work and mounting medical bills often feels increasing pressure to accept a less generous settlement offer if the claim process drags on.  Insurance companies will be particularly inclined to drag out the claims process when an injury victim is not represented by an experienced Miami Auto Accident Attorney.  An attorney who regularly litigates car accident claims can keep the process moving by conducting discovery and filing motions to counter tactics primarily intended to cause delay.

Disputing the Cause or Severity of Injury: Even when the fault of the other driver is reasonably clear, such as when you are rear-ended while stopped at a red light, the insurance company will not simply cut a check for the value of your damages.  When the evidence regarding fault is overwhelming, the insurer will shift its focus to disputing the nature and/or extent of your injury.  The insurer might ask you to sign a consent to release of information, so the insurer can go on a “fishing expedition” through your medical records.  The insurer might look for prior injuries or medical conditions reflected in the records that can be blamed for the injuries you attribute to the car crash.  If you seek immediate medical attention following a crash, doctors can conduct a diagnostic evaluation and scans like an MRI, X-ray, and/or CT scan that can provide evidence showing the collision caused your injuries.  If you delay medical treatment, the insurance carrier also might argue that you did not seek medical attention right away because you were not actually injured in the crash.

Greenberg Stone and Urbano:  Seeking Maximum Recovery for Damages Sustained Due to Negligence 

If you have been injured in a car accident, our Florida Auto Collision Injury Attorneys at Greenberg Stone and Urbano will tenaciously pursue the full compensation you deserve.  For over 130 collective years, our firm has assisted accident victims in personal injury and wrongful death actions across South Florida.  We seek to obtain compensation for your tangible and intangible damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.  Our skill and dedication has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.   Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.

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