Being involved in an auto collision that wasn't your fault can be a frustrating and, at times, infuriating process. From securing alternative transportation while your vehicle is in the shop to trying to discern the needs and interests of the multiple parties involved in your claim, you may feel as though you're being punished more than the at-fault driver.
In some cases, your insurance company may add to this stress by attempting to force or pressure you into a settlement that isn't likely to cover all of your projected costs. And unlike legal judgments which can be appealed, settlements are final, making it all the more important to ensure you've received all the funds to which you're entitled.
Read on to learn about four telltale signs your insurance company may not be operating with your best interests in mind, as well as what you can do to preserve your recovery rights after a motor vehicle accident.
Lack of Contact
Your insurance company has a vested interest in ensuring that your claim is settled to your satisfaction; after all, this level of service is what keeps insurers in business and prevents customers from turning to competitors.
Therefore, failing to maintain contact with you or return your phone calls or messages can be a red flag that your insurance company isn't doing all it can to preserve your rights or simply doesn't believe your claim is important or high-dollar enough to devote significant time or resources.
While daily updates may be too much to expect, an insurance company that allows several business days or more to pass before returning your call or answering a question may be an indication that you should seek outside legal assistance to protect yourself.
Pressure to Sign or Settle Immediately
It's important to keep in mind that your interests and your insurance company's interests may not always align. In general, your insurance company is concerned about minimizing its own financial exposure, while you're concerned about being fully compensated for the losses you've incurred.
While your insurance company's frugality can sometimes work in your favor, it can also mean that you may be discouraged from holding out for a better settlement offer if the offer initially extended is enough to cover the bare minimum of loss-related costs.
The sooner your case is resolved, the sooner your insurance company can put its resources and efforts elsewhere. Meanwhile, you may be facing long-term issues that could require further medical treatment, making it tougher to come up with a final settlement number and harder to accept what you perceive as a lowball offer.
If you're feeling pressured to settle for less than you believe you're owed, it's always acceptable to push back or even refuse settlement and proceed to trial. Doing so will require the assistance of an experienced attorney, but it can often be the only way to ensure you're fully compensated after an accident.
In some cases, you may be satisfied with the frequency of communication with your insurance company but less than impressed with the substance of these conversations.
Some insurance companies are managed more efficiently than others, and if you've been assigned an agent or claims adjuster who is being ping-ponged between several states at once, you may be concerned that he or she is letting important issues fall through the cracks.
In other situations, you may be sent documents intended for the other party or even bearing an incorrect name or vehicle description. An insurance company that isn't even able to keep its own documents organized is unlikely to be your best bet in negotiating a settlement with the at-fault driver.
Hints of Favoritism or Collusion
While insurance companies and agents are subject to a strict set of rules regarding conflicts of interest, there are always a few bad apples in every group, and some insurers may covertly collude with others in the industry to minimize the financial losses incurred by the at-fault driver.
In other cases, especially when the at-fault driver is employed by a well-known company, small-town politics or financial considerations could leave your insurance company reluctant to play hardball and potentially make enemies in the process.
If every conversation with your insurance representative leaves you with the distinct feeling you've been arguing with the opponent instead of your own agent, it's possible you're dealing with an internal or external conflict of interest that could prevent you from receiving a fair settlement.
If you're tired of getting the runaround from your insurance company, it may be time to bring in the big guns. Hiring an attorney with experience in motor vehicle accidents and personal injury law can help preserve your rights and ensure that you receive all the monetary (and non-monetary) compensation you deserve. Contact D. Chadwick Calvert, LLC, for help fighting for the compensation you need and deserve.