When you’ve been through the pain of an automobile accident, the last thing you want to be told is that you’re going to be stuck with the expenses too. According to research by the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association, car wrecks cost America roughly $1 trillion each year, when you take into account lost life, earnings, property damages, and other related losses. But auto insurance companies still manage to make billions in profits. How? By collecting premiums and denying claims. Here are just five of the most common, yet terrible, arguments that insurance companies use to deny a legitimate injury claim.
- You Were Hurt Before (a.k.a. Pre-existing Injury)
This is probably the most frequent excuse used. Here is how it works. The insurance company tells you they need you to sign a medical records release. Then, they go through your treatment records and discover that five years ago, you saw your family doctor because of a pulled muscle in your shoulder. The next thing you know, the adjuster is explaining that they will have to ‘reduce’ the amount of your payment, because your injuries are ‘pre-existing.’
- You Were Mostly to Blame (a.k.a. Comparative Fault)
This is when an insurance company thinks it can get away with blaming you for your own injuries. There are a lot of ways to distribute blame among different parties to an accident. In some states, if you are even 51 percent to blame, you cannot recover anything. In other states, if you are even slightly at fault, you cannot recover at all. In Missouri, we use a pure comparative fault model. This means that you are responsible for your share of the blame. If the other driver is even partially to blame, you can collect up to that amount for your injuries.
- Your Medical Treatment Was Unreasonable (a.k.a. Too Expensive)
Again, this is just a clever way of saying the insurance company doesn’t want to pay for your loss. Insurance companies regularly try to argue that x-rays, hospital stays, surgeries, or medications are too expensive. Of course, it’s important to remember that the injured victim did not get a say in how much an ambulance ride or hospital visit would cost. The victim did not choose to be injured.
- You Waited Too Long to Get Help (a.k.a. Delayed Treatment)
Whether you suffer muscle pain and neck aches commonly associated with a whiplash injury or something much more serious, such as a concussion or brain injury, the symptoms can be delayed. Even the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) acknowledges that many of the symptoms of traumatic brain injury can be delayed by days or even months. Nevertheless, insurance adjusters love to tell victims that by waiting two or three days to get treatment, they must not have really been hurt. The science says otherwise.
- Good Old Fashioned Injury Claim Delay
Nothing keeps you from being compensated quite as effectively as an insurance company simply ignoring you, delaying matters, and not returning your calls. Some of the bigger, well-known insurance companies are now even switching the claims handlers every two-three weeks, just so that the claimant can never find the person needed to handle the claim. Some insurance companies change their claims numbers regularly or put incorrect information on letterhead. Ultimately, they want you to wait until the statute of limitations has passed. Then you are forever barred from being compensated.
Getting Aggressive Legal Help for your Injury Claim
There are strict time limits on bringing a lawsuit for your injuries. The attorneys of the Krause and Kinsman Law Firm know exactly what it takes to handle your injury claim from start to finish. And if the insurance company doesn’t want to play by the rules, we aren’t afraid to take your case to trial. Call or contact us online today to schedule your free, no-risk consultation.
Robert Kinsman is a personal injury, mass tort, business litigation, and employment discrimination attorney who practices in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law and has been practicing law for several years now. Robert Kinsman is passionate about normalizing the life of his clients after they have been seriously injured. Learn more about his experience here.