Beware that Insurance Adjusters Know How to Mislead You in Your Personal Injury Case. Here are Some Examples of How They Do it….
As a personal injury attorney in Dallas, Texas, I have heard all the stories from clients of what adjusters have told them about their cases. Sometimes the client calls me in time to prevent any serious damage to their case. Sometimes, they don’t and their cases are damaged beyond repair. Here are some examples of the most common tricks and practices to look out for.
Requiring a Recorded Statement
Don’t be fooled when the adjuster says that you are required to get a recorded statement. They may be required to get one, but you are not required to give one. This is one of the most often used “traps” adjusters use.
It goes something like this…. You are involved in a car accident. The adjuster calls you within a day or so of the accident and says they have been assigned to your claim. “I need to get your statement of the facts in order to complete my investigation.” You either believe you must give a statement or the adjuster tells you that you are required to give a statement.
Either way, you get duped into giving a recorded statement. Now, the adjuster asks you a series of questions and you give your answers. The problem is that the adjuster knows how personal injury cases develop and you do not. Unknown to you, you say something that drastically hurts your case.
So, what do you do? Easy…. You do nothing! If the adjuster calls, and requests a recorded statement, just respond that you are not in a position to discuss the case at this point. Then, pick up the phone and contact a personal injury attorney. Take advantage of the free consultation so that you can evaluate all your options and make a decision from there.
Requiring Signed Authorizations
Once an adjuster is assigned to your case, they send out a series of letters. One of those letter will enclose certain “authorizations.” One will be a medical authorization. This document permits the disclosure of your medical records. The other might be an employment or wage authorization. This permits release of your employment and wage records.
The letter will say that the adjuster needs these authorizations in order to investigate and evaluate your personal injury claim. Nothing can be farther from the truth. I have been practicing as a Dallas personal injury attorney since 1994. I have handled thousands of claims over that time. Never have I ever had my clients execute these authorizations. Why? Because these authorizations are used for one purpose: To pry into your background and try to find something to under-value or even deny your injury claim.
Telling You They are Going to Close Your Case.
I love this one. Every time I hear this line, I literally laugh out loud. What the adjuster is trying to do is pressure you into finishing your treatment and settling your case prematurely. This way, they settle your case for less than it might be worth.
Here’s how it works. You are injured in a car accident. You go to the doctor. Your injuries, medical treatment, and physical therapy seem to go on longer than the adjuster likes. In the meantime, you are getting calls from the adjuster inquiring about when your treatment will be finished so they can wrap up your case.
The adjuster then says that they are going to close your case unless they get all the medical bills and records within a certain period of time. You fell anxious and quit your treatment before you are officially released. In other words, you have now let the adjuster dictate your medical treatment under the “threat” of closing your file.
The main thing to understand here is that the adjuster does not control your rights to pursue your claim. Whether the adjuster chooses to close your case or not has absolutely no effect on your rights. The only deadline that you need to be mindful of is the statute of limitations. That’s the only deadline that threatens your rights, not the adjuster’s deadlines.
Telling You to Go See A Doctor and They Will Pay For It
“If you need to go to a doctor, just send us the bill and we will take care of it.” Then, you go see the doctor and send the adjuster the bill, just like he suggested. The the adjuster tells you that they do not pay your claim one bill at a time. Rather, they wait until they get everything and finish their investigation. Then they will make you a lump sum offer.
The kicker is that you cannot afford to front the medical expenses yourself. So, you send the bills that you have and get anxious about getting your money back. The adjuster has you where they want you: In a desperate situation.
Now, you feel forced to get your case settled so you can get your money back. But, settling under these circumstances carries some harsh realities. You probably did not get the treatment you need and are still in pain. Also, you have probably settled your case for less than it’s worth.
A personal injury attorney can help you get the medical treatment you need under a letter of protection (LOP) without any money out of your pocket. This way, you and your doctor can concentrate on getting you better, and your lawyer will worry about getting your bills paid.
Tricking You Into Delaying Your Medical Treatment.
This is opposite of the last one. In this scheme, you tell the adjuster that you need to see a doctor but don’t have the money to pay for it. The adjuster tells you that they cannot pay for your medical bills until after they investigate your claim. So, you wait, and wait, and wait. One week goes by. Then two, three and maybe four.
Now your case has become stale. One of the biggest mistakes you can make in a personal injury case is delaying your medical treatment. If you don’t go to the doctor early, then there is no proof of your physical complaints or injuries. And the longer you wait, the harder it is to prove that the injuries were the result of the accident.
Then, when you get fed-up with the adjuster’s lies, you try to find an attorney. Come to find out, no attorney is willing to take your case because you waited too long to get the medical treatment you need. You are now in “No Man’s Land,” and no one can help you.
Asking You to Sign a Release.
I have had this happen a few times. The adjuster usually tries to do this very early on in your case. Let’s say you were injured in a car wreck. You go see the doctor a few times. The adjuster says to send in your bills. The adjuster then offers to pay you some money, but you have to sign a release.
You are concerned that you might need further treatment. So, the adjuster offers to pay you a settlement and leave a certain amount open for future medical expenses. It all sounds good to you, so you sign the release.
However, you quickly realize that your injuries are worse than they seem. You have just settled your injury case for a fraction of what it’s worth. And, when you go to the doctor, the adjuster either “low-balls” the medical bill, or tries to exhaust the remaining medical benefits quickly. Once exhausted, your doctor stops treatment unless you pay out of pocket.
This is a painful and heartbreaking lesson. I have seen people settle their case for $5,000 when their cases were potentially worth $50,000.00.
Don’t Become A Victim of These Tactics.
How can you avoid these traps? It’s easy. Call a Lawyer!
Only an experienced personal injury lawyer knows these tricks. The only way to get the best value for your case is to make sure your case is properly managed from the very beginning. That means getting an injury attorney early on. Then, the attorney can properly investigate your case and focus your medical treatment in a way that is best for you.
Since 1994, I have made it my practice to be the best personal injury attorney in Dallas that I can be. My goal is to make sure that your case gets the individual attention it deserves. But, you have to make the call. And once you do, you will have taken the first step in protecting your rights.