You, like many people, may believe that insurance companies are on your side and exist to help those injured recover physically and financially after an accident. On the contrary, insurance companies are businesses above all else and their primary goals are to maximize their profits.
They do this by going to extraordinary lengths to deny or devalue even legitimate claims at the expense of accident victims. We’re not saying that every insurance company or adjuster is ill-intentioned, but the reality is that they work for the best interests of the company, not policyholders or claimants.
Below, we discuss some common ways that insurance companies may attempt to deny your accident and injury claim and offer tips for ensuring that you receive maximum compensation for your losses.
1. CLAIMING YOUR ACTIONS CONTRIBUTED TO THE CRASH
You may know that you did nothing to cause the crash, but the at-fault driver’s insurance company may dispute this part of the narrative. Given that Virginia insurance follows a strict fault rule, you may be unable to successfully pursue a claim against the at-fault driver if you are even found to be 1% at fault for the accident.
Read one of our recent blogs to learn more about Virginia’s strict fault rules in auto accidents.
This can make it relatively easy for the insurance company to deny your claim, as all they have to do is attempt to prove that you did something that you were not supposed to behind the wheel which contributed to the accident, such as:
- Failing to yield
- Failing to use blinkers
- Failing to use headlights
- Distracted driving
2. CONDUCTING SURVEILLANCE ON YOU
It’s not unheard of or even uncommon for insurance companies to hire investigators to conduct surveillance on injured claimants. Investigators may follow you, watch your movements, or even videotape your everyday activities. They do this in order to catch you doing something that could potentially disprove the severity of the injuries you are claiming.
For instance, if you claim to have a severe knee injury but an investigator snaps a photo of you carrying groceries or jogging outside, it may negatively impact your case. Even if you were only doing an activity for a minute or were in pain, it only takes a second to take a picture that could point to the contrary.
3. USING YOUR MEDICAL RECORDS AGAINST YOU
Proving the extent of your injuries inherently means that you need to provide relevant medical records pertaining to your injuries and subsequent treatments. The insurance company may ask for permission to obtain your records directly from your healthcare provider, but keep in mind that they may attempt to access certain information and personal details about you.
Whatever they find can potentially be used against you, even if they have to come up with a creative twist for it. They may, for instance, try to find a previous injury or medical condition on your records to show that your injuries were not entirely sustained in the accident at hand. As such, you should not sign or authorize a medical record release without first speaking with your attorney.
4. CONVINCING YOU THAT YOU DON’T NEED AN ATTORNEY
Insurance adjusters know that their jobs will become more difficult if they choose to hire an attorney. As such, the insurance representative may try to convince you that there is no need to hire an attorney and assure you that they have you in good hands.
When it comes to your recovery, never take the insurance representative’s word for it. Hiring a car accident attorney to represent you will go a long way, as this person will advocate on your behalf to ensure you do not settle for anything less than what you deserve. Additionally, most personal injury attorneys, including the ones at Huffman & Huffman, work on contingency fees and do not require any out-of-pocket fees. Instead, we only get paid if and when you receive compensation.
WORKING HARD TO PRESERVE YOUR RIGHTS
Ultimately, having an attorney on your side during the claims process can be the difference between having your claim denied and receiving the compensation you need to recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and more.
Since 1973, our legal team has been advocating on behalf of those injured across Newport News and the surrounding areas. At Huffman & Huffman, we are dedicated to working for you and your family, not the insurance company.
We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—please do not hesitate to reach out at (757) 599-6050 to learn more about your legal options.
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