A common theme over the years on TV and radio has been one of a friendly insurance agent that makes it seem that the insurance company is your dear friend, and that they’re interested in looking out for you. However, the reality of it is that when it comes to being faced with an injury claim, insurance companies tend to use any trick in the book to delay, deny or minimize the amount of damages payable to the injured claimant. This article will discuss a few of the most common ways that insurance companies fight injury claims.
Denying or Limiting Liability
The plaintiff must prove that the defendant was negligent, and that their negligence caused the accident and the injury. This is necessary to establish liability in a personal injury claim. Showing negligence requires establishing that the defendant owed a ‘duty of care’ towards the plaintiff. A common approach used by insurance companies to argue that the defendant had no duty of care towards the plaintiff is to say that the plaintiff knowingly engaged in risky behavior and that as a result of the ‘assumed risk’, the plaintiff was injured. If the defendant can establish assumption of risk by the plaintiff, the plaintiff will be unable to recover any damages. One example where this might arise is an injury claim filed after an ATV accident.
other situations, the insurance company may try to establish that the plaintiff contributed to his or her injury; this could be trying to show that the plaintiff acted negligently or that the injury was aggravated by failing to obtain proper medical treatment. In the state of Alaska as well as in other states, if the defendant can show that the plaintiff was partly at fault, any damages will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to the plaintiff - comparative negligence.
It should be noted that when making a claim with your own insurance company, remember to aggressively state your claim as if you were dealing with someone else’s insurance company. This is because your insurer will look to the language of your insurance policy for ways to avoid having to compensate you. Even though the insurance company may site an exclusion which they argue limits their obligation to you, it is important not to hesitate to challenge their assessment of your claim. Bear in mind that the insurance company is a service provider and not your friend. Take the time to read your policy carefully and consider consulting a lawyer car accident injury professional, to help make the case that your claim is not barred by any exceptions contained in your policy.
Minimizing Your Injury
All insurance companies will try to limit the amount of money they have to pay to an injured claimant and one trick is to minimize the extent of the plaintiff’s injuries. The insurance company will look for evidence that shows that the accident was not that severe or not severe enough to cause the types of injuries you are claiming for.