When you buy insurance, you expect to be taken care of after an accident. That’s the whole purpose of insurance, after all: you pay your premiums and the insurance company is supposed to help take care of you after a car wreck! However, it doesn’t always work that way. Insurance companies are now in business to make money, not pay it out.
Time and time again, people come to us because they were in a car wreck, it wasn’t their fault, but the insurance company won’t pay enough to cover their injuries and damages. Many people don’t get enough money to even repair their car!
That’s where the experienced auto accident attorneys at our law firm comes into the equation. We work to make sure you get all the money you deserve for your repair bills, your medical bills, and pain and suffering, so the insurance company pays you what is fair for damages and injuries. The most important step you can take after a car accident is to retain an experienced auto accident attorney.
Learn to recognize these five signs that the insurance company may be trying to rip you off:
- Making a low-ball cash offer. If you total your car, the insurance company may offer to give you cash equal to the value of the totaled vehicle (which sometimes isn’t enough to get you another car, truck or motorcycle). Insurance companies often base the recovery amount on "comparable" vehicles and may try to reduce the value due to dings, dents, or other minor defects in the car, as well as the mileage. The cash amount is often far too low to replace what you have lost.
Insurance companies make money by taking premiums not paying out claims.
Instead of paying your full medical bill, they may try to only pay a part of it, what they call the “reasonable and customary rate.” Sometimes that’s less than what the doctor wants you to pay, and you can be left having to pay your own medical bills after a wreck that wasn’t your fault. The American Medical Association has actually filed suits against insurance companies because "reasonable and customary" data has been manipulated to save insurance companies money. What the insurance companies consider "reasonable and customary" is often skewed and inaccurate and meant to benefit themselves rather than consumers.
- Persuading you to admit partial or total fault. Questions that seem innocent from an insurance company may not be. Sometimes, just one wrong word can mean the insurance company won’t have to pay you a dime. The insurance adjuster processing your accident may try to get you to say certain things to minimize the extent of your injuries, or even admit full or partial responsibility for the accident when it really wasn't your fault. The adjuster may try to get you to sign forms or make recorded statements that can ruin your claim. Unfortunately, it may be legal for your insurance company to record you without telling you about it. Do not give any written or recorded statements to any insurance company until you completely understand the situation. An experienced auto accident attorney can help you with this situation.
- Getting you to sign a medical authorization form. Never give a medical authorization form to the other party's insurance company. This one piece of paper could hurt you the most! This form gives the insurance company complete access to every medical record you have on file. Pre-existing conditions and other injuries unrelated to the accident will be completely available to the adjusters to use however they can to discredit your claim and reduce your payout. The insurance company might try to say you were already hurt and the car wreck didn’t make it worse.
- Offering a quick, "final payment" check. After a wreck, the bills pile up, but income stops coming in. It can be tempting to take any offer that comes your way. However, our firm has seen many of those early offers are often too low to pay for medical bills, pain, and suffering. A bad financial situation after a major loss may make it seem necessary to accept a quick settlement from your insurer. However, you may not know the full extent of your damages or the impending costs for future medical treatment or repairs. Do not accept any check from the insurance company, unless you speak with your lawyer first and you are ready to settle your entire claim. This is a common insurance company tactic to get you to release all your rights and ruin your chances for receiving any more money to pay for your damages.
Before you speak to the insurance company call an attorney to protect your rights. If so, you should ignore the adjuster's advice and consult with an experienced auto accident attorney as soon as possible. You should not accept any checks, sign any releases, or settle your claim without talking to a lawyer. If you believe the insurance company is trying to rip you off, contact the dedicated car accident attorneys at George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers right away. We would be happy to review your case for FREE!!
Call (888) 612-7001 to get started. We proudly serve clients throughout South Carolina.