Picture this: You’re driving when another vehicle crashes into your car. You obtain injuries that cost you thousands of dollars for medical procedure, therapy, and lost wages. In hopes of getting justly compensated, you send the bill to the liable driver’s insurance company. But after several weeks, the company tells you that your accident was really just worth half of what you lost, and that’s all you can get paid.
Unfortunately, this scenario of denied justice is fairly common among those injured in accidents. Just when they think they can rely on insurance to help them recover financially, insurance providers downsize their claims through a strategy known as “delay, deny, defend”.
Distinguished law professor Jay M. Feinman shares a real-life example of the delaying technique being used. A woman whose accident permanently injured her and killed her fiancé filed a claim with a prominent insurance company. The company’s adjuster knew of her permanent injuries, but waited four months for an imaginary doctor’s report. Then, without sufficient evidence, the adjuster concluded that the injuries weren’t that serious, and waited another four months before making an offer to settle the claim.
Meanwhile, Anderson Cooper’s 360° Blog on CNN reports a story of denied insurance. A woman whose medical bills and expenses amounted to $25,000 filed a claim with another giant insurance provider. The company’s offer to settle? Only $15,000.
Former insiders in the insurance industry have divulged in the same report that this is a likely scenario for minor impact crash victims. According to these insiders, after insurance companies delay handling the claim and deny the weight of the injury, they will go into drawn-out court battles to defend their decision. In the second story, the woman sued and was awarded $167,000 – but only after three years in court.
Even worse, this three-pronged approach is used by 10 of the 12 major insurance companies, aiming to save money, says the report. Their bet is that you’ll take the small payment and walk away.
In fact, the report reveals that one of the top insurance companies have it in their training manuals: to get “smaller walk-away settlements.” A former insurance adjuster from the same company said her offer would sometimes be as low as $50, and poor people would take it fearing they’d get nothing at all otherwise.
The sad bottomline is that accident victims have been unjustly missing out on billions of dollars, which insurers get to keep for themselves.
The better chance you would have of avoiding this unsatisfying ending is by standing your ground with a competent attorney who truly cares for your case.