Do insurance companies use tricks to take advantage of injured persons who don’t have lawyers? You bet ya!
This is a very common question we receive. There are various ways that insurance companies attempt to take advantages of unrepresented injured persons. For instance, consider the following:
Low Ball Offers – Sign Release
In some cases, insurance companies make low ball offers and offer much less than the injured person deserves or would otherwise be entitled to receive. In exchange for the offer and little money, the injured person is asked to sign a full and final release and then they can never ask for more compensation later even if the injury worsens. It is very difficult to have a Court overturn or set aside a settlement where there is release signed. Keep in mind that most experienced injury lawyers will give you a free consultation and a release would only be signed after fair compensation is paid.
Asked to Provide Recorded or Signed Statements
Every experienced injury lawyer will tell you never sign a statement and give it to the insurance company. This is simply an insurance tactic to get you to commit to certain facts; often the statement may not be accurate or complete and may seem harmless.
Insurers will ask you to give a recorded statement, give a videotaped statement or sign a statement. Never do so without a lawyer. Most persons think this is normal and want to cooperate. They have nothing to hide and are truthful. As an injured person, you have the right to have a lawyer review any statement you may wish to make, whether it is in writing or orally. We never advise our clients to sign and provide written statements. Giving a statement is a rooky mistake (which inexperienced lawyers may make) and one that unrepresented personal injury persons often make. You should never commit yourself to a recorded statement without first consulting a lawyer.
Adjusters are trained and they would love to have you make prejudicial admissions in a written statement.
Signing Medical Directions Allowing the Insurance Company Access to Your Medical Records
In many cases, the insurance adjuster will ask the injured person to sign medical authorizations allowing them access to your medical files. In many cases, the adjusters obtain not only relevant medical documents but all medical information and documents (the entire files), relevant or not, often including medical records for the past 10-20 years. The records include irrelevant sensitive and personal documents and information which the insurance company has no business obtaining.
An injured person should never allow insurance companies to have open access to their medical files. As your lawyers, we only allow access to relevant medical files and never more than 3 to 5 years of medical history files, prior to the accident.
Insurance companies don’t care about your privacy. They will hire investigators to take surveillance of your activities. Why do they do this? They will videotape your activities and then claim you are not injured since it will show you doing activities. Of course, the videos do not show your level of pain and the medication you may have taken just to do the activity. The video will be used to contradict your evidence at trial or during an examination.
Our advice. Hire a personal injury lawyer. Always consult with a personal injury lawyer before negotiating anything with an insurance company. Never meet with an adjuster without a personal injury lawyer.
Ottawa Personal Injury and Insurance Lawyers – 613-563-1131.