While filing a claim after an injury might seem straightforward, insurance companies are often more interested in saving money than compensating victims fairly. It’s important to be aware of some tactics insurers may use to fight your Miami personal injury claim and how to best protect your rights.
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Shifting the Blame to You: The Critical Role of Modified Comparative Negligence in Florida
In Miami and throughout the state of Florida, personal injury cases follow the rule of modified comparative negligence. The amount of compensation you can recover is reduced by your degree of fault in the accident. As long as you are not more than 50% responsible, you can recover compensation.
Insurance companies will use every trick in the book to pin responsibility on you. They’ll comb through police reports, interview witnesses, and examine the scene of the accident to find any shred of evidence that suggests your negligence.
To combat this tactic, it’s crucial to collect your own evidence, such as photographs, witness statements, and medical records, to protect your claim.
Alleging Pre-Existing Conditions
Another deceptive maneuver is to argue that your injuries were the result of pre-existing conditions rather than the accident itself. Insurance adjusters might closely examine your medical history for prior injuries or ailments that could be blamed for your current pain and suffering.
To counter this tactic, be transparent with your attorney about your medical history and provide them with accurate documentation of the injuries sustained due to the accident. A thorough and well-documented medical evaluation conducted by a trusted healthcare professional can serve as vital evidence for your claim.
Delay Tactics: Wearing You Down in Hopes You Give Up
Insurance companies know that time is not on your side. With mounting medical bills and lost wages, they hope that by dragging out the process, you’ll grow discouraged and either abandon the claim or accept a low offer.
Adjusters may engage in delay tactics, such as requesting unnecessary documentation, making excuses for not returning calls, or even changing adjusters mid-process.
To tackle these tactics, keep detailed records of all communication with the insurance company, including the names of representatives you spoke to and the dates of your conversations. Having a dedicated Miami personal injury lawyer by your side can also expedite the process and prevent unnecessary delays.
Pressuring You to Settle Before Speaking with a Lawyer
One of the most common methods insurance companies employ is persuading accident victims to accept a quick, low-value settlement before they have a chance to consult a personal injury lawyer. They play on the victim’s vulnerability, financial difficulties, and lack of knowledge about the true value of their claim.
Looking For Procedural Errors: Statute of Limitations
Insurance companies are experts in finding procedural errors to undermine your case. One such tactic is pointing out if the statute of limitations has expired.
In Florida, the statute of limitations for most personal injury claims is two years from the date of the accident if it occurred on or after 3/24/23 and four years from the date of the accident if it occurred before that date.
If you file your claim after this period, the insurer will argue that it’s time-barred and should be dismissed.
Questioning Your Credibility
As part of their strategy to reduce compensation, insurers will also question your credibility.
Here are some common tactics they might employ:
Inconsistent statements: Insurers are quick to spot any discrepancies in your account of the accident, medical records, or correspondence. Even minor inconsistencies can be exploited to portray you as untrustworthy. That’s why it’s crucial to maintain meticulous records and consistency in your statements.
Social media snooping: In the digital age, insurance companies are known to scrutinize your social media profiles, looking for any evidence to discredit your claim. Photos, status updates, or comments that contradict your injury claims can seriously damage your case. It’s essential to be mindful of your online presence and consider adjusting your privacy settings while your claim is ongoing.
Surveillance: Sometimes, insurers may even hire private investigators to follow and monitor your activities, hoping to catch you engaging in physical activities that contradict your injury claims. If you suspect you’re being watched, inform your attorney immediately.
Mitigating the Impact of Insurance Company Tactics in Your Miami Personal Injury Case
While insurance companies can be relentless in their efforts to minimize or deny your personal injury claim, there are steps you can take to level the playing field:
- Hire an experienced Miami personal injury attorney: Navigating the complexities of personal injury law is best left to the professionals. Skilled attorneys know how to counter insurance company maneuvers and aggressively advocate on your behalf.
- Document everything: Keep track of your medical appointments, treatment plans, and expenses incurred as a result of your injury. When possible, collect witness statements and photographic or video evidence of the accident scene to support your case.
- Avoid settling too quickly: Insurers may offer you an initial low settlement, hoping you’ll accept it without further scrutiny. Don’t be lured by a quick payout – seek legal advice to ensure you’re getting a fair deal.
Personal injury claims can be emotionally and financially draining, but understanding the insurance company’s tactics can help you better navigate the process. If you need help, contact our personal injury lawyers at (305) 937-0191 in Miami for a free consultation.