A recent CNN investigation details just how insurance companies like State Farm and Allstate have developed this strategy that allows them to drag out injury claims involving crashes with slight evidence of vehicle damage and individual personal injuries.
By focusing on denying accident injury claims, delaying the settlement of these claims and defending against the claim in court, Allstate, State Farm and other insurance providers can put together what is called a “take-it-or-leave-it” offer where they attempt to settle claims as quickly as possible, sometimes offering as little as $50 for injuries. Should an injury victim deny these insulting offers, insurance companies are more than willing to devote their vast resources into dragging the matter out for lengthy periods of time in court.
According to one example from the CNN story, an Indiana woman suffered the effects of the three D’s first hand. After being rear-ended by a State Farm employee driving a State farm car and suffering a herniated disc and muscle tears, the woman racked up close to $15,000 in medical bills and lost wages. State Farm offered the woman a measly $2,000. Insulted by the lowball offer, the woman decided to try her luck in court.
Three years later, a jury awarded the woman a mere $1,500. Why? State Farm defense lawyers displayed photos from the car accident convincing jurors that the woman could not have suffered severe injuries from a car accident with such minimal damage. They painted a picture that the woman had already been compensated and was simply trying to defraud the insurance company.
These practices have resulted in insurance companies reaping the benefits of billions of dollars while personal injury victims are left with very little, if they are lucky enough to receive any type of award at all.
While insurance companies may seem friendly enough, it is important to always be aware that they are only out to protect their own bottom line. Even the most well-known and respected insurance companies engage in these underhanded schemes to maximize their profits. Because of this it is important to educate yourself on their primary tactics known as the three D’s: delay, deny, and defend.
1. Delay is the first of the three D’s. A claim is submitted and the games begin. Insurance companies will often tell you that you did not fill the proper form out correctly or that another form will need to be completed. The back and forth match can continue when the insurance company tell you your claim is too late or that your claim is not covered. Basically, the insurance company’s goal is to make the process more difficult so that injury victims will give up and drop the claim.
2. Once delay fails, the next step is to implement the second D: Deny. There are numerous ways insurance companies can deny a claim. Sometimes this step is achieved by offering a low settlement amount, and other times the claim is denied entirely. The hope is that injury victims will accept the denial without resistance. Like delaying a payment, denial is effective because many people get frustrated and drop the matter. Every dollar that stays out of an injury victim’s pocket is a dollar that goes to the insurer’s bottom line.
3. If all else fails, the insurance company will bring out the third D: Defend. This forces a person with a legitimate claim to bring their injury matter to court. Litigation could take several years, sometimes more if the case is appealed. Some laws make it more difficult to recover more than the amount that should have been paid out in the first place, which gives insurance companies all the more reason to delay, deny and defend.
When faced with the dilemma of playing hardball with the insurance company, there is often only one answer ̶ get a lawyer. Don’t let an insurance company intimidate or force you into making a hasty decision. Insurance adjusters count on injury victims giving up. The Pasco County Injury Lawyers can help you recover the full and fair compensation your injuries warrant. We are not afraid to stand up to insurance companies and fight for your personal injury rights.
If you have been injured in an auto accident in Pasco County, contact the Pasco County Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton online or call 727-847-2299.