So, you’ve been in a car accident, and you are wondering about your options. You’re worried your medical bills won’t get paid, you’ll lose money from missing work, and you may not be able to catch up on your bills. Well, rest assured that the insurance companies are working hard to find ways not to pay you for your injuries. At the Krause and Kinsman Law Firm, we take great pride in fighting for injured people every day, by holding negligent drivers and their insurance companies accountable.
While most people should know by now that insurance companies have little interest in doing what’s right, sometimes the tactics can border on hostile. If you are facing an insurance claim involving your injuries in a Kansas City car accident, here are just three of the nastiest insurance adjuster tricks you should watch out for.
#1 The Unwitting Statement
Insurance companies will often call under the guise of trying to quickly help you get your car repaired or helping you get a rental vehicle. It all starts with a friendly claims representative calling you to check on you. They may use phrases like, “We just wanted to let you know we accept liability and we want to help you get your medical bills paid for upfront.” That’s right, they might even say they accept liability. They may claim they just need to get some photos of the car and do some preliminary investigations. First, of course, they need to get your statement, just so they can “confirm coverage.”
The term “confirm coverage” is a nice way of saying they are looking for a reason to “deny coverage.” Once you give a statement, they will use every word against you and try to take your statements out of context as a disingenuous reason for denying your claim. The lesson? Don’t give a statement. Call a lawyer right away, and let your attorney talk to the adjuster instead.
#2 Early Release
The adjuster may say they need you to sign some paperwork so they can get you paid. They may offer to pay your medical bills, plus send you a check for your pain and suffering. The trick is, many of your medical bills may have already been paid by Medicare, Medicaid, or private health insurance. If you accept the check and sign the paperwork, you are likely releasing all rights to your claim. Later, you may get a surprise letter from your health insurance company (or the government) telling you that you have to turn over that check to pay them back. Otherwise, you risk losing health insurance. Some deal, right? And because you signed the release, there’s nothing you can do about it.
#3 Medical Authorizations
Insurance companies often take a lot of liberties that they would not get if your case was being handled through the court system. One way they do this is to request you sign a medical release. They will tell you it’s so they can contact health providers to pay your bills. While this is partly true, what they won’t tell you is they will likely get far more records than they are entitled to, including unrelated records from long before the crash. They will look for any evidence of a sore neck, back pain, or other injuries, even decades before the crash. They then use this to deny you compensation, arguing your pain is not from the present accident – no matter how ludicrous this may be.
Talk to a Kansas City Personal Injury Lawyer Right Away
The sooner you call a lawyer about your crash, the faster an attorney can move into action and begin protecting your rights. Having an experienced law firm on your side can prevent the insurance company from taking advantage of you at a time when you are vulnerable and susceptible to abuses. Call the Krause and Kinsman Law Firm today to schedule a free 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.