Insurance Adjuster Tricks To Deny a Colorado Personal Injury Claim
Whenever an insurance company considers settling a claim, it sends an adjuster to determine how much the claim is worth. An insurance company makes a profit when it pays out less in claim damages than it takes in from premiums. Therefore, the insurance company’s objective is not to “take care” of its policyholders or accident victims. It’s to pay out as little money as possible after an accident.
Ultimately, the insurance adjuster’s job is to make a settlement offer that provides the lowest dollar amount that the recipient will accept for a claim. Often, they employ a number of tricks to reduce the overall value of your claim.
In order to get the maximum compensation possible after an accident, it’s vital that you understand the claims process and be aware of some of the dirty tricks that can be used to minimize or deny your claim.
What’s the role of an adjuster?
Let’s start by defining the role of an adjuster so you understand how they can impact your claim. An insurance adjuster is a licensed professional who works for an insurance company. They have 2 main jobs:
- First, they determine if a claim is valid.
- Second, they determine how much a claim is worth so the insurer can propose a settlement.
Dirty tricks used by insurance adjusters
There are numerous issues that need to be addressed in a typical personal injury or workers’ compensation case. Notably, this often makes it easy for an insurance adjuster to mask their shady conduct as due diligence.
Below are some of the top tricks insurance adjusters employ to reduce your compensation after an accident.
Try to get you to admit fault
Colorado is an at-fault state, meaning that the person who caused an accident is responsible for compensating the injured party. However, when determining fault, Colorado uses a comparative negligence law, which reduces the plaintiff’s compensation according to their percentage of fault.
For example, if you were injured in a car accident because the other driver ran a red light, but you were distracted and talking on your phone at the time of the accident, a judge might determine you were 10% at fault for the accident, so your final compensation would be reduced by 10%.
Because of this law, it’s common for insurance adjusters to try to get you to slip up and admit to something that could place some of the blame on you. They may also come at you with a barrage of questions in an attempt to confuse you or get you to contradict yourself.
Any small mistake could end up drastically reducing your compensation, so it’s always best to have a lawyer present before you agree to answer any questions.
Rush or delay the process
Adjusters frequently try to either delay or rush the process to get you to accept a low payout.
How does this affect the payout?
Rushing the process is a tactic that could cause the claimant to accept a lowball settlement because the claimant doesn’t have time to truly figure out their needs or costs related to the accident. You might underestimate how much time the injury will cause you to be out of work or not realize that you’ll need additional medical treatment for the injury later. Once you agree to a payout, it’s done. If you then learn that you need more treatment, it’s too late, and you’ll need to pay on your own.
A delay is also a tactic that can result in a lower settlement amount. For one thing, the longer the insurer can “run out the clock,” the less time you have to file a lawsuit. Second, they might think that if they continue to delay your claim, you’ll become frustrated and stop following up altogether.
An adjuster might try to slow down the communication process by not answering phone calls or taking weeks to respond to emails, only to have a rushed conversation when they finally do talk with you so they can breeze past the details that don’t bode well for them.
Even if their goal isn’t to reject the claim altogether, the adjuster might drag out the process to pressure an injured person without income or financial resources into accepting a low settlement.
Put you under surveillance
Some adjusters accuse injured people of faking their injuries. They may hire private investigators to follow you and try to catch you doing activities that show you aren’t as injured as you claim.
Depending on the nature of your injuries and the orders your doctor gave you following your accident, a simple activity like mowing your lawn or taking your kids sledding could be used against you to reduce your claim.
It’s also fairly common for adjusters to look through your social media posts, so be especially aware of anything you post online during the accident claim process.
Even small mistakes can prevent you from getting compensation after an accident. Learn what NOT to do after an accident to protect your rights.
Use your medical records against you
Medical records can become a gold mine for insurance adjusters. Suppose a slip-and-fall injury in a large retail store resulted in someone injuring their wrist. The insurance adjuster might use evidence of a medical condition like carpal tunnel syndrome to claim the injury is the result of a pre-existing medical condition rather than the accident.
Even if you think you have nothing to hide, you should never authorize an insurance adjuster to view your medical records without first speaking to a personal injury lawyer who can ensure your rights are protected.
Pretend to be on your side
Insurance adjusters will often try to prevent you from contacting a lawyer by convincing you that they have your best interests in mind. Be aware that anyone who wants to prevent you from gaining information about your right to compensation is not on your side.
Most personal injury lawyers offer free initial consultations, so you literally have nothing to lose and everything to gain. An experienced personal injury attorney can give you an estimate of how much your case may be worth based on similar cases so you’re empowered to make an informed decision before accepting a settlement from the insurance company.
Contact an experienced Colorado personal injury attorney
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, slip-and-fall accident, bike accident or any other accident in Colorado due to someone else’s negligence, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at The Babcock Law Firm. We can investigate your claim, consult experts in the field, and negotiate with insurance companies to get you maximum compensation after an accident.
Contact us today for a free consultation of your case.