Has your child suffered an injury and someone else is at fault? If you have been contacted by a representative of the responsible party’s insurance company, chances are they have made you feel that they have your child’s best interest at heart. Please understand that the best interest of an insurance company is to pay out as little as possible in any settlement. That is why you need a Wisconsin child injury lawyer who will actually represent your child’s best interest. Insurance companies have effective strategies to deny or devalue claims that every victim needs to be familiar with. Here are the top five.
1. The Phone Call: As soon as an insurance company is notified of a claim, they will call the victim even though little time has passed. This is not because they are being vigilant. They are trying to reach a victim at their most vulnerable time. They are hoping a victim is not yet aware of the full extent of injuries. More importantly, they are hedging their bets that a victim has not yet secured legal representation. What might happen during such a phone call?
- Effort to establish trust with words of empathy and comfort.
- Admission of fault on the part of the insured to establish the credibility of the insurance company as wanting to fulfill their obligations.
- Engage you in conversation about the incident, allowing you to speak freely, knowing that, after a traumatic event, most people desire to discuss it. This is an effort to glean information that could damage your claim.
- Inform you that recording the conversation is company policy. This is not just some innocuous office policy. This recording is often used as a tool for recording information for later use in devalue-ing a claim.
- Pointed questions about specific details and injuries can often be used later against you. A question may be asked, for example, about neck injuries. You may not yet know the full extent of your child’s injuries and respond with an answer that could hurt your case. Also, if you do affirm that your child has neck injuries and, later, discover related back injuries that were not mentioned in the recorded conversation, this recording can be used as evidence that back injuries did not originate with the claim’s incident.
2. Signatures: Medical information is your private information. It may be the most critical information for your case. It is common for an insurance company to request a signed medical authorization to gain access to your child’s medical records. This should not be provided without consulting a legal professional first. Here’s why:
- It provides access to more than just medical providers for the incident involved with the claim. All of your child’s medical records become accessible. This is done in an attempt to find any prior health issue or treatment that could be offered as proof of an injury or health condition that existed before the event associated with the claim. Thus the insurance company will argue for the claim to be denied or, at the very least, devalued.
3. Quick Settlement: At the most vulnerable time in your life and your child’s life, the offer of a quick settlement will be very tempting. This is understandable. The expense, time and energy required for treatment after an injury often creates great difficulties for families. Many simply want to resume their normal life as soon as possible. Insurance companies are aware of this vulnerability and exploit the strain families are under by offering quick settlements that are, quite often, valued at pennies to the dollar of what a family is truly entitled to for their child’s injury.
4. The 3 D’s: Deny, dispute and delay are three tactics insurance companies will engage in to frustrate and demoralize victims. Their ultimate goal is that a claimant will simply give up. However, if they fail at that then, at the very least, an insurance company hopes to succeed at demoralizing a victim to the point of accepting a devalued settlement.
5. Misrepresentation: Insurance companies are master craftsmen of misrepresenting the facts. Insurance liabilities and injury law is complicated. Agents are trained to navigate these complexities to their advantage. They may try to dissuade you from seeking legal representation. Their strategies include confusing you, discouraging you, and, ultimately, exhausting you.
If your child has been injured, seek a legal advocate who will aggressively protect your child’s best interest. An experienced attorney will work on your behalf, protecting the rights of your child and strive for the best possible outcome. The Harnitz Law Office has been providing the winning advantage for Wisconsin families and is ready to provide you with a free consultation for your own case.