Common Insurer Tactics to Undermine Your Injury Claim
Insurers utilize various tactics in order to undermine the victim’s injury claim and minimize their liabilities. Read on and consider the following information.
Social Media InvestigationMore than ever, insurers are utilizing cyber-investigation teams to sift through the content on injured claimants' social media profiles. Oftentimes, claimants -- despite having been involved in a serious injury -- overshare about their damages and the recovery process. Though it may seem fairly standard to share these critical events happening in your life, it is worth keeping such information private until you have the opportunity to consult with an attorney. Insurers can and will utilize the information they gather on your social media profiles to further undermine your claim.
For example, if you are asserting damages for a debilitating leg injury, and the insurer's investigations team discovers recent pictures of you going on a hike with friends, then they will argue that you are exaggerating the extent of your injuries, perhaps, and will attempt a significantly reduced payout.
Surveillance of ClaimantIn addition to social media investigation, insurers may conduct surveillance on claimants who have submitted substantial injury claims -- they might have an investigator secretly follow the claimant around town and take photographs so as to gather proof of the injury being fabricated or exaggerated. Importantly, private property is off-limits unless they have been authorized to be there. An insurer may only conduct surveillance on public property where you have no reasonable expectation of privacy. If the insurer attempts to use evidence that it gathered while you were on private property, then that surveillance will be deemed illegal and may not be used against you.
Encouraging Disclosures Without the Aid of an AttorneyIn the wake of an accident, insurers generally prefer to get in contact with the injured claimant as soon as possible. While on the phone with you, insurance adjusters will work to engage with you in such a way that you make unnecessary disclosures that could potentially undermine your recovery.
For example, if the insurer asks you to give them your "perspective" on the events as they unfolded, that might (upon first impression) appear to be a good thing -- after all, you can clarify what actually occurred. In reality, however, the insurance adjuster will latch onto minor disclosures that could be used to undermine your claim, such as an inconsistent statement you make while describing the events at-issue.
Generally speaking, it's important to avoid speaking with an insurer until and unless you have consulted with an attorney. Your attorney will serve as your representative and will engage with the insurer on your behalf.
Delaying the Processing of a Legitimate ClaimThough it can lead to liability for bad faith, insurers regularly engage in tactics that cause delays in the processing of your claim -- even if your claim is legitimate. By doing so, the insurer is hoping that you will simply be overwhelmed (and perhaps exhausted) by the consequences of your accident, and that you will agree to a lowball settlement offer. In some cases, the delays are so significant and so tiresome that the claimants resign themselves to obtaining no payout from the insurer.
Questioning the Seriousness of Your InjuriesIf there is an opportunity for the insurer to dispute the nature and seriousness of your injuries, they will almost certainly take it. As a general rule, the insurer is likely to argue that your injuries are not as damaging as you claim and may use medical record evidence (along with expert testimony) to question your recovery. Insurers are not required to cover "unnecessary" and "unreasonable" treatment. As such, they often utilize tactics that pick apart the treatment you have received, and that put forth alternatives that should have been sought instead.