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The Role of Insurance Companies in Personal Injury Cases

November 21, 2023 Legal Team

In personal injury law, claims revolve around seeking compensation for individuals who have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence or wrongful actions. Whether it’s due to car accidents, slip-and-fall incidents, or workplace injuries, victims often face not only physical and emotional harm but also financial challenges from medical expenses and lost wages.

Securing adequate compensation is crucial for supporting your healing journey and ensuring you don’t suffer undue financial burdens while doing so, making insurance companies a vital part of the process – for better or worse.

The Role of Insurance in Personal Injury Cases

Insurance Companies Are Responsible For Investigation 

When a personal injury claim comes to the attention of an insurance company, they initiate a detailed investigation process aimed at evaluating the appropriate amount of compensation. This typically involves several steps:

Claim Initiation

The first step is that you or your attorney report the incident to respective insurers who then open a case file and begin the claims process.

Assignment of Insurance Adjusters 

An insurance adjuster, sometimes also referred to as a claims adjuster, will be assigned specifically to your case. 

Assessment And Investigation 

The insurance adjuster sets out on a fact-finding mission of determining what happened and who is responsible. They usually do this by getting your side of the story, collecting police reports if available, interviewing witnesses, reviewing medical reports, assessing evidence like photos from the scene, and anything else they believe is necessary to figure out what happened.

Evaluation Of Liability

In the process of handling a personal injury claim, insurance adjusters then carry out an evaluation of liability, which means they determine who is legally at fault for the accident. This involves thoroughly examining all the collected evidence and details pertaining to how accidents occurred.

This step in processing your claim is crucial because assigning fault affects how much compensation you will be entitled to, if any.

Insurance Companies Are Responsible For Providing Compensation

Insurance companies play a pivotal role in personal injury cases, as they are primarily responsible for providing fair compensation to the injured party. When you pay your premiums (and when other people pay theirs and then cause you to be involved in an accident), insurers agree to take on the risk of covering financial losses that may result from an accident.

Following an incident where harm has occurred, it is typically expected that these companies assess claims objectively and compensate victims adequately for their losses — be it medical bills, lost earnings due to an inability to work, property damage repair or replacement cofosts, or other related expenses caused by the accident.

The ideal situation would see insurance companies executing this duty promptly and equitably so that injured parties can focus on recovery without the added stress of fighting for compensation. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out like this, as insurance companies are ultimately for-profit companies who try to pay out as little as possible, even when their insured party is at fault. 

Understanding why this doesn’t always happen and what insurance companies do to avoid this is essential. 

Tactics Insurance Companies Use to Avoid Payouts

Insurance companies who should be responsible for paying your damages will often try to employ tactics that prevent or delay you from receiving compensation or limit the amount you do receive. Here are some tactics they often use:

Delaying Claims Processing

A common strategy is the intentional slowing down of claims processing. Insurers might do this by drawing out investigations or repeatedly requesting more information, leading you, as an injured party, into financial distress. The longer the process takes without a payout, the more desperate one might become for any settlement offered – which could be significantly less than what’s fair.

Low Settlement Offers 

Soon after an accident occurs and before you fully understand all your damages and future costs related to the injuries you sustained, you may receive quick but meager settlement offers from insurance companies. They do this hoping you will be willing to take what they offer because you have medical expenses piling up and may be out of work due to your injuries. 

Claiming Pre-Existing Conditions

Upon filing a claim, you may find an insurance company delving deep into your medical history. They do this in an attempt to ascribe any injuries sustained during the accident to pre-existing conditions. By arguing that these injuries aren’t directly related to the event in question, insurance companies aim to alleviate their financial responsibility.

Utilizing Surveillance

In their effort to gather evidence that may dispute the extent of the injured party’s injuries, insurance companies are known to resort to surveillance tactics. This often means hiring investigators or combing through the plaintiff’s social media activities for any proof suggesting exaggerated or fabricated claims.

Contesting Liability

Insurance companies may attempt to dispute who is at fault in the accident. By questioning or outright contesting liability, they seek to imply that the policyholder – their client – holds less responsibility or no responsibility for your injuries. This strategy can introduce delays and complexities into settlement negotiations because if they’re successful, it can reduce what you’re entitled to—or might even mean getting nothing at all.

Downplaying Pain and Suffering

Following the theme of trying to minimize their financial obligation, insurance companies and their adjusters may also downplay your reported pain and suffering. By challenging the severity, duration, or impact of your emotional distress and mental anguish resulting from the incident, they might argue that these harms are worth very little compensation.

By understanding the tactics commonly used by insurance companies to reduce payout amounts, you’ll be better prepared to stand your ground and make sure you get what you’re truly entitled to.

Always Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer to Level The Playing Field

It is always strongly advised that you hire a lawyer when you’re involved in a personal injury claim. Legal professionals are equipped with the expertise and knowledge necessary to maneuver through the complex negotiations that come with dealing with insurance companies. They understand how insurers operate and are familiar with these tactics and how to combat them.

Don’t underestimate insurance companies; always work with a lawyer to level the playing field and give yourself the best chance of recovering the compensation you deserve. Contact our Mesa injury lawyers today to schedule a free consultation.