After a car accident, it may comfort you to have people around who care about your well-being. Your California medical team will be helping you toward recovery, and your friends and family will offer their support and encouragement. You may even receive a visit from a kind and compassionate insurance adjuster who presents you with a check just at the moment when you were feeling anxious about your medical bills.
However, before you accept that check or sign any papers, you should be aware of some of the tactics insurance companies use to protect their own bottom line. While it may seem callous to feel suspicious of the person who is saying the right thing at the right time and offering you the funds you need, understanding how insurance companies train their agents may help you avoid rushing into a settlement that is not in your best interests.
Recognize these tactics
Insurance companies, like any other business, are in it to make money. If they can avoid paying you too much or anything at all, it is better for them. The adjusters they send to your hospital room or home have an assignment to win your trust and get you to agree to what they offer, which is seldom what you actually need. Some of the tricks an insurance adjuster may use include the following:
- Using friendly persuasion: With charm and sympathy, an adjuster may get you to reveal things about your health or the accident that are not relevant but may affect the insurer's decision to pay.
- Going on the record: Asking or insisting on recording your conversation or statement is one way the insurer collects information to use against you.
- Seeking more information: The adjuster may overwhelm you with requests for additional evidence of your medical costs or lost wages.
- Getting your signature: An adjuster may offer to save you the trouble of gathering your own medical information by getting your signature on a blank medical authorization that allows the insurer to see your past medical history.
- Settling fast: An adjuster may make a quick settlement offer sound enticing or imply it is the best you will get.
You and your doctor may not have a complete picture of your injuries and the treatment and care you will need to reach the fullest possible recovery after a car accident. You may require additional surgery down the line, rehabilitation or even in-home care. You may be unable to return to your job. Until you have a better idea of what you will need to maximize your recovery, it is better to allow your legal representative to deal with the insurance companies so you can focus on getting well.