Kibbey Wagner, PLLC | July 19, 2023 | Personal Injury
If another party injures you, Florida personal injury laws allow you to seek compensation for your economic and non-economic damages. In many cases, the person has liability insurance that covers the claim. Therefore, the liability insurance provider should pay the claim up to the policy limits.
Of course, you have the burden of proving the legal elements of a negligence claim before you are entitled to compensation for damages. Unfortunately, insurance companies deny personal injury claims in Florida even though the evidence clearly proves liability.
Before you deal directly with an insurance company about your personal injury case, you should know these tricks insurance companies use to avoid paying personal injury claims in Florida.
Claiming the Accident Did Not Cause Your Injuries
Insurance companies have a couple of ways to utilize this tactic. First, if you say you are fine or okay after the accident, the company might allege that you did not sustain injuries.
In reality, the shock of the accident masked your symptoms. When you began experiencing symptoms, you went to the doctor. However, the insurance company might try and use the delay in medical treatment and your statements to deny your claim.
Second, the insurance company might allege your pre-existing condition is the cause of your injury. Even so, Florida law does not allow parties to escape liability for the damages they cause solely because the party’s pre-existing condition could have made them more vulnerable to injury.
Blaming You for Causing Your Injuries
This tactic is very common in insurance claims. The company shifts the blame to the victim for causing the accident that resulted in their injuries. The company denies the claim based on contributory fault.
Until March 23, 2023, Florida operated under a pure comparative fault standard. You could be 99% at fault for causing your injury and still recover 1% of your damages.
The state changed the law as of March 24, 2023. There is now a 50% threshold for damages.
You are not entitled to compensation if you are more than 50% at fault for causing your injuries. However, if you are 50% or less at fault, you can receive compensation based on your level of fault.
Requiring Statements To Process a Claim
The insurance adjuster might tell you that the company requires a written or recorded statement to process your claim. Do not fall for this insurance trick.
The company wants to get your statement on the record so it can use it against you if you file a lawsuit and the case goes to court. Insurance representatives are highly-trained professionals. They ask leading questions designed to obtain responses that can be twisted to imply fault.
Instead of talking directly to the insurance company, it is best to let a Stuart personal injury lawyer handle the communications on your behalf.
Ask for a Signed Medical Authorization
This insurance tactic is also designed to obtain information to use against you. With this tactic, the insurance adjuster asks you to sign a release for your medical records, saying the company needs to verify your injuries.
The request seems logical, so you sign the authorization. However, let’s say you did not notice that the authorization is for your entire medical history. The insurance company then uses the form to obtain all records to search for prior injuries and health conditions it can use to claim pre-existing conditions are responsible for your current injuries.
Making a Quick Settlement Offer
The insurance company might know your claim is worth a substantial amount of money. Sometimes, the company makes a quick settlement offer. However, this offer is much lower than the value of your claim.
The intent is to pressure or entice you to accept the offer because you need money now. Unfortunately, if you have not completed medical treatment or talked with a lawyer, you may not know the extent of your injuries and damages. If you accept the offer and sign the final settlement agreement, you give up your right to sue the parties who caused your injuries.
Instead, talk with a Stuart personal injury attorney before accepting a settlement offer from an insurance company or signing any documents related to the case.
Telling You That You Cannot Afford To Hire a Lawyer
A common tactic insurance companies use is convincing a person that an attorney charges too much money. In many cases, people who hire lawyers recover higher settlement amounts.
Personal injury attorneys accept cases on a contingency fee. You do not pay any money upfront to hire the law firm. Instead, the attorney only gets paid when they win compensation for your case.
Delaying Your Claim
Insurance companies delay claims for a couple of reasons. First, they want to wear the person down so that the person accepts a settlement offer to get some money for their case.
Second, the company might be watching the statute of limitations. If you do not file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires, the court may dismiss your case.
It is wise to seek legal counsel as soon as possible after a personal injury or accident. Stuart personal injury lawyers offer free consultations. Therefore, it does not cost you anything to discuss your case with someone you can trust to have your best interests as their only priority.
Contact the Personal Injury Law Firm of Kibbey Wagner, PLLC in South Florida For Help Today
Kibbey Wagner, PLLC – Palm Beach Gardens
300 Avenue of the Champions Ste 220
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418