Cagle Law Firm
Attorney Zane Cagle

Posted on June 14th, 2019,
by Zane Cagle

Tactics of Insurance Companies Can Cost You After a Car Crash

Posted on June 14th, 2019 by Zane Cagle

After an injury car accident in Missouri, you often  find yourself  overwhelmed.  You have all kinds of concerns including the damage to your car. You may be in a hurry to settle, but that can be a critical mistake if you are HURT.  Sometimes people are so overwhelmed, they will accept any kind of settlement from an insurance company in order to get their car fixed and back on the road. The need for answers can be overwhelming.  No one wants to feel that they have been taken advantage of following a motor vehicle crash. Yet, I often talk to people that express that very concern.

The Unknown is Often Scary

Ager a car crash, you have two separate claims if you are injured.  The first claim is the property damage which in most situations is your vehicle damage. The second and separate claim is the bodily injury claim.  Every single person that is seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident is overwhelmed. The unknown is a scary thing.  After the initial emergency room visit, you may not know exactly what is wrong with you. Additionally,  you may not have an reliable idea of exactly how long your recovery will take or doctors you will need to see. You may not know when you can return to work. You may not know when you regular life will resume. It’s scary. In every conversation with a new client, there is one common factor–it is overwhelming to plan for the unknown. No matter a person’s health, wealth or ethnicity; the unknown is jarring.

While dealing with the insurance carrier regarding your car is often frustrating, it is usually only an introduction of how the insurance company will regard your injuries. The property damage claim can be settled right away as the damage to your car is going to be the same the day of the crash and a week later.  Unlike replacing your car, your bodily injuries are almost never fully known until quite some time later simply because every person heals differently. In fact, there is not a standard injury or standard recovery process as each person is unique.  Rushing to settled your case before you know the full extent of your injuries can lead to financial hardship down the road. Once you have settled your injury claim, then you are forever barred of making any further claims regardless of medical bills that keep coming to you.  There are several situations and questions injured people find themselves involved when they are dealing with insurance settlements.

Is your Initial Settlement too Low and Too Quick?

If you are hurt, then quick settlements are usually not in your best interest.  Insurance companies are happy to make an early offer before you actually find out the extent of your injuries. Most injured people may have an original diagnosis from the emergency room, but not know the full extent for weeks to months. In an attempt to put the whole thing behind you, you may accept an early offer.  This is  a mistake.  A large number of injured people require far more medical treatment past the ER. The ER makes sure you have broken any bones or need emergency surgery, but beyond that you may have to follow up with your primary care doctors multiple times and/or specialists. Depending on your symptoms, you may have to engage in the lengthy medical process of following up with specialist and rehabilitation–this can get really expensive. If you’ve settled early, then you have not allowed for this further medical treatment that could be as simple as a month of physical therapy to potential surgery.

The insurance company is not doing you any favors by offering a settlement for your injuries in the first week. Some people view this as good customer service by the insurance company. Alas, this is a successful tactic by insurance companies to settle before you find out the extent of your injuries.  Again, you should contact an experienced attorney before talking with any insurance adjuster about your injuries.

Are You Updating Your Insurance Adjuster as You Proceed Through Your Medical Treatment?

Are you sending medical bills to the auto insurance adjuster as you treat expecting that they are going to pay them?  Are you updating the auto insurance adjuster after your doctor appointments?  DO NOT DO THAT!!!  One, the insurance adjuster is not a medical provider and oversharing with them is never advantageous. There is no reason you should tell the auto insurance adjuster anything other than, “I am still treating”. Period!  Giver yourself time to recover before you ever start talking to an insurance adjuster about your injuries.

Second, are you taking medical recommendations from an insurance adjuster about what kind of medical treatment you should get? Please do not do that either!  Remember, the insurance adjuster does not work on your behalf and they do not have the medical background to recommend any kind of treatment. Do not take their “suggestions” about your medical treatment.  Pursue your treatment through your primary care doctor and develop a plan with doctors and specialists.   The adjuster may be a really nice person but their financial interest is not in your best interest even if it is your own auto insurance carrier.  There is no reason to submit bills to the auto insurance company as they will not pay-as-you-go.  Use your health insurance to seek all medical treatment and keep control and privacy of your medical treatment.  Contact an attorney who will review all of your medical records and bills.  Don’t send your bills and records to the auto insurance companies as you treat as they may just begin assessing your claim for denial or reduction.  If you have ongoing medical treatment, you will need an attorney.

You may assume that when you are extra forthcoming and honest with the insurance adjuster, you will be able to build a relationship of cooperation by providing all of this information.  Unfortunately, it does not work that way.  While the individual adjuster may be a really nice person, their goals and your goals are not  the same.

Hope For the Best and Plan for the Worst

It’s good advice for many circumstances in life.  However, it is specifically true to recovery from a motor vehicle crash.  You have to hope for the best and strive for maximum success. On the other hand, you do have to consider what the worst-case scenario might be in your journey through medical treatment. It is not something you will know immediately, thus the awkward attempt to plan for the unknown!  In the first few weeks after a crash,  you are simply trying to get your feet back on the ground and answer some of the most basic questions depending on your injury. Again, at some point through the work with your medical doctors, you must sit down and think about decisions based on your response to medical treatment. Those decisions are between you and your medical providers-not the auto insurance carrier.

As your treatment continues, getting a thorough diagnosis is critical.  If you have continued problems, you want to find the actual cause of the pain, not just address the symptoms. Clearly, this has to be done through close monitoring by doctors.  The wait-and-see approach is not always the best one when it comes to trauma to your body.  The quicker you seek medical treatment, the more likely you will have a better result.

Get Medical Treatment and Contact an Attorney

Seek medical treatment immediately. Before you start sharing information about your injuries with anyone other than a doctor, talk to an attorney. Representing injured people in motor vehicle accidents is what we do.  We are very familiar with the tactics of insurance companies when it comes to how they handle claims.  It does not matter if it is your own insurance company.

Information is power, thus you want to have it before you start making decisions the may impact your future. Contact our attorneys!

Call us toll free 1.800.685.3302 or locally 314.257.0214 for a free consultation