When a victim is injured in an accident, the last thing that many of them think will happen is that the insurance company who is responsible for reimbursing the victim for the losses they have suffered will do everything they can to minimize or deny the claim. This not only happens with the insurance company of the at-fault party, but can also occur with the victim’s own insurance company if for some reason they file a claim for the accident, such as when the crash involved an uninsured or underinsured driver.
In addition to vehicle accidents, injured victims of other types of accidents can also pursue damages, including premises liability, defective product, and malpractice cases. Some of the common losses victims are entitled to receive financial compensation for include medical expenses, lost income and benefits, pain and suffering, emotional anguish, permanent disability, and more.
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But despite insurance companies promoting themselves as being “like a good neighbor,” “you’re in good hands,” “on your side,” and “peace of mind,” the bottom line is these are for-profit companies and every time they have to pay a victim damages, their bottom line is affected. This causes many insurance adjusters to do their best to avoid paying victims the amount they are legally entitled to, even if that means engaging in bad faith practices.
Even more alarming is that it is not just small, fairly unknown insurance companies that engage in these practices. One organization, the American Association of Justice, has conducted extensive investigations of some of the most trusted and well-known insurance companies in the country. Despite raking in more than $1 trillion dollars in premiums each year, these companies often do everything they can to cheat victims out of the compensation they deserve. Some of the more common tactics used include the following:
- The company will despite the terms of the client’s insurance policy, including what it covers and what dates it was in effect.
- The company will claim the client did something that violates the terms of their policy.
- The company will dispute the circumstances surrounding the accident or incident that caused the injury.
- The company will downplay or minimize the extent of the injuries the victim has suffered.
- The company will downplay or minimize the amount of medical expenses the victim has suffered.
- The company will downplay or minimize the amount of lost wages and/or benefits the victim has suffered.
- The company will immediately offer the victim a settlement that is much less than what they deserve for the losses they have suffered or will suffer in the future.
- The company will delay negotiating the settlement and will not return the victim’s phone calls.
North Carolina monitors bad faith insurance practices allegations and has enacted laws which help protect victims from unscrupulous companies. When a victim files a claim, the should do the following:
- Make sure to locate the original policy documents which will provide the terms of coverage.
- Make sure to keep a record of all medical expenses, pay stubs, any out-of-pocket expenses, and any other receipts that are connected to the injuries.
- Keep all correspondence and documentation from the insurance company.
- Avoid speaking to the insurance company or signing any documents without first consulting with a North Carolina personal injury attorney.
Contact Our Firm Today
If you have been injured in an accident, do not try to negotiate with the insurance company yourself. Let a North Carolina injury attorney work on your behalf to get you the best possible outcome based on the circumstances of your case. We’ll focus on dealing with the insurance company while you focus on your recovery.