If you’ve been involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault, it’s likely the other party’s insurance company will attempt to make quick contact with you, sometimes on the very day of the incident.
However, before you take that call or reply to their email, you should know their timely reaction isn’t necessarily designed to make sure you get immediate help.
Instead, it may be one of several tactics that insurance companies might rely on to settle a personal injury claim in their favor. In other words, for as little money as possible.
Attorney Matt Boulton has 25+ years’ helping injured Hoosiers and their families settle and/or win a variety of personal injury claims, including:
- Car accidents
- Semi-truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Dog bites
- Wrongful death lawsuits
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
Serving as one of Indiana’s top-rated personal injury lawyers, he has also witnessed a number of strategies insurance companies use to pay out less than the maximum dollars.
Boulton Law Group’s latest blog examines 3 common ways an insurance company may attempt to undervalue a personal injury claim.
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Assign a Percent of Blame Elsewhere
The majority of Boulton Law Group’s clients have zero fault for the incident that caused their injuries, however, there are times when an insurance company may try to assign all or a percentage of fault to our client.
Indiana’s personal injury laws allow victims to seek compensation for their injuries if they are no more than 50% at fault for an accident. However, it also means that an injured person who is not more than 50% at fault will have their total compensation reduced by the percentage of fault that is assigned to them.
For example, let’s assume the insurance company believes you are 30% at fault for a car accident that has left you with a significant injury. If your case was determined to be worth $50,000, the insurance company would subtract 30% of this total to offset your amount of liability, leaving you with $35,000.
This is one example of why it’s important to contact an experienced Indiana personal injury attorney before you speak with the insurance company.
Underestimate the Seriousness of Your Injuries
There are a number of ways an insurance company may attempt to strategize an accident victim’s injuries to help settle claims in their favor, such as:
- Suggest an accident victim is exaggerating the effect the injuries have on their quality of life and personal affairs.
- Use an accident victim’s prior medical history in an attempt to relate past conditions to their current injuries.
- Assign generic value to an injury based on the insurance company’s history of past accident claim payouts, i.e., “A broken hand is worth “x” amount of dollars, no matter the situation.” In reality, identical injuries can affect different people in different ways, so the value of every person’s injury should be looked at individually.
Boulton Law Group’s clients present to our firm with any number of injury types, including:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Soft-tissue injuries
- Nerve damage
No matter the type of injury, an important key to proper valuation is ensuring your case is presented in a professional manner that speaks to your individual experience. Without professional legal representation, the short and long-term effects of your injuries may be minimized by the insurance company.
Settle the Claim as Quickly as Possible
We briefly mentioned this tactic in the opening, however, it’s important that we expand on why “timeliness” can be an insurance company’s greatest ally.
Today, we live in a world of “same-day” deliveries and service, so it may not seem out of the ordinary for an insurance company attempting to settle your claim quickly, perhaps even immediately. However, if you believe prompt customer service and quick resolution is their only goal, you may want to think again.
No matter the type of incident, whether it be a car accident, dog bite, etc., injured Hoosiers will likely have financial needs related to their medical bills. As such, many people will agree to an amount of compensation worth far less than what is deserved for their total injuries and losses.
For example, an insurance company may offer an accident victim a seemingly substantial amount of money to cover their medical bills, but it may not include other damages, such as pain and suffering, lost wages, various other expenses, and more.
Additionally, it’s not uncommon for accident victims to experience delayed symptoms that were masked by adrenaline and/or undiagnosed injuries. For this reason, it’s important that accident victims have a full understanding of any potential long-term effects their injuries may present before agreeing to a quick settlement.
Questions About Your Personal Injury Claim?
Sought after by accident victims throughout Indiana, Boulton Law Group is an award-winning personal injury law firm that offers all Hoosiers a Zero Fee Guarantee.
Our firm’s Guarantee means Indiana accident victims and their families will never be charged for legal reviews or questions related to a personal injury matter. Additionally, should you decide to hire us, we collect no payment unless your case is won.
If you were injured through no fault of your own, Indiana law makes it possible for you to seek compensation for your damages. To learn more about your potential case, send us your story by using the firm’s confidential, free contact form.