3 Strategies Insurers Use to Devalue Personal Injury Claims
Regardless of what their commercials might say, insurance carriers need to protect their bottom line. Their ultimate priority is to shareholders, which means their obligation lies with those who own the company, not those who are seeking compensation from it.
While insurers cannot deny legitimate claims (at least not without facing a subsequent bad faith claim), they do have a number of strategies for devaluing them. Thankfully, if you’re familiar with these tactics, you can take steps to lessen their impact on your own action.
Should you intend to file a personal injury claim, beware of the following moves on the part of the insurance adjuster:
1. Accepting Only Partial Liability
If more than one party was to blame, each carrier will inevitably try to shield their own policyholder from as much liability as possible. Accepting only a portion of the responsibility will increase the other defendants’ obligations, reducing their own in the process.
2. Shifting Blame onto the Claimant
Under California’s pure comparative fault rule, the plaintiff’s own negligence offsets the defendant’s liability. That means the more blame the insurance adjuster can put on you, the less they’ll have to pay on behalf of their policyholder.
It’s important to keep in mind that you could be deemed liable for some portion of damages even if you didn’t actually play a role in the accident. If the insurance adjuster can argue that you failed to take reasonable measures to mitigate damages in the aftermath, for example, you could be found partially responsible for the severity of your injuries.
3. Challenging the Extent of the Damages
California tort law allows accident victims to seek compensation for virtually all the expenses they incur, both directly and indirectly, as a result of their injuries. In addition to medical bills and lost wages, this includes the cost of replacement services, domestic help, and reasonably necessary home and vehicle modifications.
Since all such damages can add up fast, challenging the extent of each one can yield considerable savings for the insurance carrier. As such, you should be prepared to present adequate documentation for every economic loss you plan on claiming.
Naturally, there’s a bit more room for debate when it comes to non-economic losses. Since these damages are intangible and include things like pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment in life, their extent is up for interpretation.
Thankfully, there are a couple of widely accepted ways to quantify them. Your legal team will likely use journal entries, psychological evaluations, and statements from friends, loved ones, and colleagues, for example, to bolster your claim for non-economic losses.
Speak with a California Personal Injury Attorney
If you intend to file a personal injury claim in the Golden State, turn to Harris Personal Injury Lawyers for strategic guidance at every stage. We have secured more than $300 million on behalf of accident victims and their loved ones. To schedule your free case review with a personal injury lawyer in California, call 1-800-GO-HARRIS or fill out our Contact Form.