Dealing with a personal injury claim can feel incredibly complicated. Your emotions often get mixed up more than you might have intended. You have suffered severe injuries, you have financial difficulties related to those injuries, and you need the funds from a personal injury claim to help you get back on your feet after your accident.
When you talk to a lawyer or other representative from the insurance company, you may hope that they will provide you with accurate, trustworthy information. Unfortunately, all too often, you may find that the insurance company’s lawyer has misled you or failed to provide you with the information you need to handle your claim.
Do insurance lawyers lie about settlements?
Insurance lawyers may not lie to you directly, but they may not provide you with all the information you need about a personal injury claim, and they may try to mislead you to reduce the compensation the insurance company has to pay out for your accident.
Insurance lawyers have the insurance company’s best interests in mind when they negotiate settlements and talk to injured parties. Often, those interests diverge significantly from yours. By keeping that simple fact in mind every time you deal with a lawyer, you may find it easier to navigate your insurance claim.
What lies do insurance lawyers tell?
You may hear a lot of statements from insurance lawyers that do not match up with the full truth about your claim.
1. “You cannot get more compensation than this.”
Often, the insurance adjuster’s first lie will start with the initial settlement offer. The insurance adjuster may not come out and say the words, but in many cases, the insurance adjuster’s language and insistence will convince you that you need to accept the offer in front of you. Often, they will imply that you do not deserve more compensation than the offer you received and that continuing to fight will just waste your time and money.
The Truth: Often, you can recover substantially more than the insurance company offers as part of its initial settlement.
Many insurance companies will start with a very low settlement offer on purpose. Some car insurance companies, for example, have an AI program that generates a settlement offer based on a small percentage of the damages the injured party claims. That offer rarely reflects the full extent of the injuries you have sustained or the losses you have faced as a direct result of the accident.
Suppose, for example, that you suffer broken bones in an accident. You need surgery to repair that broken bone, which may cost somewhere around $15,000. However, as part of that initial offer, the insurance company might suggest that you accept a settlement for $10,000 or less, which does not even include the full cost of your medical bills, much less the other costs, like your lost wages, or the pain and suffering you faced as a direct result of your accident.
2. “You need to accept this offer quickly.”
It may work in the insurance company’s best interests if you accept a settlement offer quickly, but it rarely works in yours. Frequently, the insurance adjuster or lawyer will pressure you to accept a settlement quickly because it does not reflect the real compensation you can recover. The insurance adjuster may not want you to have time to walk away and talk to an attorney or try to calculate the real cost of your medical bills and other financial losses, since that could lead to you asking for additional compensation.
The Truth: Insurance companies rarely have a set timeline by which they will withdraw an offer.
While you may have to accept an offer within a set time, in most cases, you will have more than adequate time to think over a reasonable offer and make sure it fits your needs following an accident.
Most of the time, if the insurance company pressures you to accept a fast settlement offer, it does not want to give you time to think. Accepting an offer without legal advice can result in considerably less compensation than you deserve for your injuries.
3. “The policy does not cover XYZ.”
Sometimes, insurance companies may try to convince you that you do not deserve compensation because of the policy itself and what it covers. The insurance agent you speak with may even try to convince you to accept a low settlement offer because you do not “deserve” any compensation at all, based on the terms of the insurance policy.
Insurance adjusters and lawyers may try to rely on you misunderstanding the insurance policy to reduce the compensation they have to pay out. They may use obscure parts of the contract or information that you might not otherwise have had to convince you that you do not deserve more compensation—or even that you do not deserve compensation at all.
The Truth: It depends on the policy.
While some policies do have strict limitations on what they do and do not cover, those limitations may depend heavily on the type of insurance policy and its specific limitations. Furthermore, state law may dictate the coverage an insurance company must provide under circumstances, even if the policy states otherwise.
Do not take the word of an insurance attorney on what the policy covers, whether you have sustained serious injuries or suffered immense property damage. Sometimes, the insurance company will try to use your lack of expertise to reduce the compensation it has to offer you. If you accept a low offer, you may not have the ability to go back later and pursue additional compensation.
Instead, have a lawyer look over the terms of the policy. Often, an attorney can identify unexpected policy exceptions and increased limits that could raise the compensation you can recover for your injuries. In many cases, an attorney can help you navigate the complex language of a policy so that you can recover the full compensation you really deserve.
4. “You have to give us a recorded statement.”
You do not have to give a recorded statement to the at-fault party’s insurance carrier. While you may have to answer questions about the accident, including what led to it and what injuries you may have sustained, you do not necessarily have to issue a recorded statement to the insurance company—nor should you. In fact, in many cases, the insurance company will want you to issue that recorded statement to use it against you later.
Keep in mind, you may have to give a statement to your insurance company as part of your Duty to Cooperate outlined in your policy.
The truth: You should talk to your lawyer before issuing any type of statement about the accident.
It may surprise you to learn that even minor statements you make about the accident can work against you when the insurance company starts putting together your claim. Not only that, if you provide a recorded statement and later try to change any of the details on that statement when discussing the facts of the accident, the insurance company may try to use that information to prove that you have lied about the accident and your injuries and that, in many cases, you do not deserve the compensation you have asked for.
Instead, talk to your lawyer about how to handle any communication with the insurance company. Importantly, let the insurance company know that you do not consent to a recording, even if the company or lawyer tries to frame it as “standard policy.”
5. “You do not deserve damages for pain and suffering.”
Many insurance companies will try to keep the focus on your medical bills when issuing a settlement offer. The adjuster may try to convince you that you do not deserve compensation for anything but your medical bills.
You may not get compensation for your lost wages. You may not get compensation for pain and suffering. According to the insurance lawyer, the company cannot offer you compensation in any of those areas.
The truth: You may deserve compensation for all financial damages you suffered due to the accident.
You may have suffered a wide range of potential damages in the accident, and you likely deserve compensation for all of them. Have a personal injury lawyer look over all the losses you have faced to help develop a better idea of the compensation you really deserve.
Will a personal injury attorney lie to you?
Most personal injury attorneys will not lie to you about the settlement you can recover from an accident, including how that attorney can help you increase the compensation you may recover.
In fact, an attorney often will not take a claim that he does not feel he can successfully win for the injured party, which means increasing the compensation the victim can recover when compared to the compensation the victim could recover if he/she handled the claim on his/her own.
Your attorney will have your best interests at heart, and will protect your best interests rather than the interests of the insurance company. Your attorney will provide you with the information you need and with straight, honest answers to the best of his/her ability
How can you avoid getting caught by an insurance lawyer’s lies?
Dealing with the lies of an insurance lawyer can feel overwhelming. Fortunately, you can reduce the odds that the adjuster will lie to you and put yourself in a better position to deal with your claim.
1. Hire an attorney of your own.
Insurance companies often have high-powered legal teams that exist primarily to support them and make sure that they do not lose any more money than necessary on an injured person’s claim. You need an attorney of your own to avoid any snags and snares in the personal injury claim process: a lawyer who will focus on your best interests and your needs, not the needs of the party that caused your injuries or the insurance company.
2. Get to know the tactics insurance companies use most often.
Even with a lawyer on your side, the insurance company may use several strategies to reduce the compensation the company has to pay out. By getting to know the tactics insurance companies use most frequently, you can avoid many of those tactics and put yourself in a better position to manage every interaction with the insurance company.
3. Never accept an offer on the spot.
Any time the insurance company tries to get you to accept an offer immediately, especially if the lawyer you speak to tries to put the pressure on, demand time to review the offer. You have the right to discuss any settlement offer with your attorney or to think it over if you do not have all the information you need. By taking time to think, you can often avoid some of the snarls the insurance company may put in your way.
4. Avoid making a recorded statement through the insurance company.
While you may, at some point, need to issue a statement or answer the insurance company’s questions about your accident, do not consent to a recorded statement. A recorded statement often will not work in your best interests, and the insurance company can use it against you later.
Did you suffer injuries in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence? Have you found yourself dealing with an insurance lawyer that does not seem to offer an accurate view of what you might deserve as part of your claim? Contact an attorney as soon as possible to learn more about your rights and to receive support as you navigate those challenges.