Three Strategies Insurers Use to Devalue Personal Injury Claims
If you’re involved in an accident, the insurance company can dispute their policy holder’s liability, and the amount of the damages (compensation for the harm you suffered) they owe. Whether the facts show liability is clear or not, they’ll try to lower their costs by disputing your damages.
Callaway & Wolf help accident victims get the compensation they deserve. Founded 26 years ago by Boone Callaway and Carl Wolf, our firm provides individual, attentive, and thoughtful legal help to our clients and their families. If you’re injured in an accident call us today at 415-541-0300 to schedule a free consultation. We can talk about your accident and your best options moving forward.
Plaintiffs have the burden of proving they suffered damages, which ones, and to what extent. Insurance companies won’t give you a pass or let you off easy if you’re trying to separate them from their money. There are many things an insurance company can do to reduce their exposure.
- Accepting Only Partial Liability
California is a pure comparative fault state. That means the damages you’ll receive reflect the defendant’s degree of blame. All your damages will be totaled, and if the jury decides the defendant’s 90% to blame for your accident, you’ll receive 90% of the damages amount.
The insurance company will accept as little blame as possible, so they don’t have to pay you as much. We use the evidence we gather, statements from both parties and accident reconstruction experts to build the case the defendant must take responsibility for their fair share of the harm they caused.
- Shifting Blame onto the Claimant
As part of this strategy, the insurance company will do all it can to blame you for the accident. It will go over every detail of the police report, and their investigation will probably find a way to blame you for something. Given liability is a sliding scale in California, they will push it as far as they can towards you.
This may not stop at the accident scene. The insurance company will also closely look at your medical records. If you’re missing appointments, not putting what they think is enough effort into physical therapy, or you disagree with your physician, they’ll claim you’re the one delaying your recovery.
You need to attend as many physical or occupational therapy sessions as you can and follow directions, but you do have some leeway. If you have a reasonable objection to proposed surgery, we need to find another way to get you as close back to normal as possible. As best you can, take medications and accept medical direction. If you’re usually an uncooperative patient, if you continue, it may cost you money.
The insurance company may dig through your medical records and find a prior condition they will blame for your condition. Investigators may also claim, using social media posts or videos, you suffered a later, unreported fall or accident that worsened your condition.
When insurance companies use this approach, facts and evidence are your best protection. We build the strongest case possible to withstand any attack an insurance company might try.
- Challenging the Extent of the Damages
Your damages evidence will be closely examined. The insurance company’s adjusters, investigators, and outside experts will question your claims:
- You’ll miss work for an extended period
- The extent of your expected future medical treatment and rehabilitation
- That you’re in pain or you’re as physically limited as you state
- The accident impacted relationships
- You suffered pain, suffering, and emotional distress
This is all part of the process of making an insurance claim or pursuing litigation. Depending on the company and situation, an insurance company may be very aggressive in attacking your claims. These actions aren’t anything we haven’t seen before, and Callaway & Wolf will prepare you for this and have evidence lined up to support your case.
Get the Help You Need from Lawyers You Can Trust
If you’re injured in an accident because of another’s negligence or intentional act, Callaway & Wolf can help. A consultation with a lawyer will be free, and we work on a contingency fee basis, so you won’t pay us unless you obtain compensation for what you’ve suffered.
Call us today at 415-541-0300 to schedule a consultation at our San Francisco or Oakland office. We can discuss your case, how California law may apply, and what we can do to help you recover the compensation you deserve.
Boone Callaway is a personal injury & medical malpractice lawyer in San Francisco who has been working with clients in the Bay Area for over 25 years. Mr. Callaway is one of only a few personal injury litigators in San Francisco who is a Super Lawyer, AV Rated and is also a member of ABOTA – American Board of Trial Advocates.