Everyone has secrets, and your auto insurance company has more than its fair share. The problem is your insurer's secrets can cause you to receive less money when it comes time to settle your auto accident case. Here are three things your insurance provider hopes you never find out.
You're Still Entitled to Compensation If You Have a Preexisting Injury
A common thing insurance adjusters like to do is downplay policyholders' injuries as much as possible. They hope that by doing so, they can avoid paying the full amount—and preferably nothing—their clients are asking for. To this end, an insurance adjuster may tell you a bunch of half-truths and outright lies, including that you can't get compensated for an injury if you have a preexisting condition. For instance, if you already had back problems from a previous injury, the insurance adjuster may say you can't get any money for the damage the car accident did to your back.
The truth is you are still eligible for compensation if you already have a preexisting injury or condition. An auto accident can worsen the symptoms or cause setbacks in your recovery, and you are entitled to receive money for medical expenses and pain and suffering you otherwise wouldn't have experienced. The trick here is to ensure you have plenty of documentation showing how the accident affected your old injuries and being persistent about getting what's owed to you.
There are Other Things You're Entitled to Be Compensated For
Many times during settlement negotiations, the focus is put on major items, such as medical bills, pain and suffering, and loss of income. However, there are a whole host of minor things you are also entitled to receive compensation for.
For example, you are entitled to be reimbursed for the mileage to and from your doctor's appointments. In fact, many insurance companies have a rate per mile they use to calculate how much to pay for this expense (e.g. in Florida, it's $0.56 per mile), but the insurance adjuster may avoid mentioning anything about it because he or she wants to keep your payout as low as possible.
Other things you may receive compensation for include:
- Reasonable transportation fees
- Parking fees
- Damage to items in the vehicle (e.g. your laptop)
- Household expenses while in recovery (e.g. lawn service, maid)
- Loss of spousal companionship
- Injuries to pets in the vehicle
- Long-lasting scars and disfigurement
- Punitive damages
There may be other things that you can be reimbursed for. It's essential you consult with your personal injury attorney to ensure all your losses and damages are accounted for.
They Don't Want You to Go to Court
Insurance adjusters are master negotiators, and bluffing is one of the many tools they use to intimidate you into settling for the compensation amount they're offering you. If you threaten to take the company to court over your claim, the insurance adjuster may act like he or she doesn't care and some may even subtly challenge you to do it.
However, the insurance company absolutely does not want you going to court, especially if you have a solid case. First, there's a chance you could be awarded far more money than you're asking. Second, it's very expensive to litigate a case in civil court, which is money that comes directly out of the company's profits.
This is why it's so important to be represented by an attorney when negotiating compensation for your accident. Not only will an attorney know the tricks insurance adjusters will use to pay you as little as possible and work around them, your threat to go to court will seem much more credible when you have a lawyer on retainer.
For more insider secrets about auto insurers or help litigating an accident case, contact a car accident attorney.