If you were injured in a slip and fall accident caused by a negligent property or business owner, you may expect the insurance company to treat you fairly and pay you the full value of your claim in your settlement. Unfortunately, the insurance adjuster could use sneaky tactics to deny your claim, devalue it, or delay settling it. You need to know the most common strategies they may employ, so you can spot them if they use them in your case.
You Shouldn't Have to Face the Insurance Company Disputing Their Liability or Your Damages
The insurance adjuster could raise disputes about the cause of your slip and fall accident in an effort to deny your claim—even if their insured’s liability is clear-cut. They could also deny your claim without investigating your claim or reviewing the evidence you provide to them.
One common tactic is to dispute the amount of compensation you are entitled to under Arizona law. They might do this by arguing the seriousness of your injuries, the necessity for specific medical treatments, or the length of your recovery. Their goal would be to force you to accept less money in your settlement and to drag on how long it takes to settle your claim.
Offering You a Quick Settlement
Another technique the insurance company could use if they know you have a strong case and the value of your claim is high is to offer you a quick settlement of your claim. They hope you will accept their offer so you can settle your claim quickly.
However, the offer will most likely be for far less compensation than you should receive. You should never accept a settlement offer without first consulting with a skilled personal injury lawyer.
Asking for Unnecessary Documents
Another way the insurance company could delay resolving your claim is to ask you for unnecessary documents or request them one at a time. This would dramatically increase how long it takes to complete their investigation into your claim.
Asking for a Medical Authorization
The insurance adjuster could also send you a medical authorization to obtain your medical records. The release would allow them to obtain all of your medical records. They would search them for pre-existing injuries and other information they can use to argue about the cause of your injuries or the amount of compensation you should recover for your medical bills. You should not agree to sign their medical release.
Requesting You Give a Recorded Statement
A very common tactic the insurance company could employ is to ask you to give a recorded statement. This question-and-answer session is recorded and transcribed into a written document. The insurance company would use any inconsistent statements you make in settlement negotiations and court.
You do not have to give a recorded statement to settle your claim. Even if you are careful and have nothing to hide, you could say something that hurts your case.
Misrepresenting Insurance Coverage
The insurance adjuster may misrepresent that your slip and fall accident is excluded from coverage under the insurance policy or that there is less insurance coverage to pay you than there really is. You should never take their word about these issues. You should request a copy of the complete insurance policy and have your attorney review it.
Insurance adjusters know it is stressful for victims to wait for their settlement proceeds when they have expensive medical bills and are off work with no income while recovering from their injuries. They could drag out settling your claim and paying you in hopes that you will become desperate and accept less money in your settlement.
Advising You Not to Hire an Attorney When You May Need Legal Guidance
Another tactic the insurance agent could use is to try to convince you that you do not need a lawyer and that you can save money by settling your claim on your own. However, the opposite is true. Here are some benefits of retaining an attorney:
- Many attorneys charge fees on a contingency fee basis so that you only owe their fees when your case is won.
- You would most likely receive a higher settlement.
- They would collect the evidence you need to prove your case and have strategies to defeat the insurance company’s tactics to deny, delay, or devalue your claim.
- Your lawyer would advise you on your rights and keep you updated on their progress in settling your claim.
Were you injured in a slip and fall accident in Northern Arizona or Flagstaff? Our experienced personal injury attorneys are here to help you obtain the justice and compensation you deserve.
To learn more about how we can assist you, call our Flagstaff office at 928-226-0165 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation today. Also, we invite you to order our free book, Injured in Northern Arizona: What Happens Next Is Up to You, to start learning about your rights.