The time immediately following an accident can be confusing and overwhelming for injury victims. While your main priority should be your health and well-being, you might struggle to truly focus on your recovery while you are also worried about your finances.
Medical bills, car repair costs, and lost wages from missing work can all add up faster than most people realize. Your best bet may be to pursue compensation via a personal injury claim. Unfortunately, you may face an uphill battle to get the compensation you deserve. Insurance companies are businesses, which mean they typically prioritize their bottom lines.
If you need financial help to recover from a crash that was not your fault, you need to be aware of tactics that insurers often employ to delay settling your accident case. The attorneys at DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC can help.
Why Do Insurance Companies Try to Delay Claims?
When you first call the insurance company to report an accident you might talk with someone who sounds kind and compassionate. That individual will probably do a good job of making it seem like the insurance company truly cares about your situation, your injuries, and what you are going through. This is just one of many tactics that insurance companies use to make it seem like they are on your side.
Auto insurance companies are for-profit businesses. This means that the main goal is to make money, not to pay out claims. Delaying car accident claims just like yours is one way in which insurers can continue to maintain and boost their profits.
In some situations there might be disputes over liability or the severity of your injury. The insurance company may take every opportunity to question the validity of your claim, even going all the way back to your initial conversation. For example, if an insurance agent asks how you are doing and you reply with something along the lines of, “I’m doing alright,” they may even use that to claim that your injuries are not that severe when you were simply trying to be polite.
How Do Insurance Companies Delay Settling Accident Claims?
The insurance industry has many tactics it has perfected to delay your claim. Watch out for any of the following, and talk to your lawyer right away if you think the insurance company is trying to delay your claim by:
- Dragging things out. Insurance companies know that when they drag out every step of the process, you are more likely to accept a lower settlement offer than you deserve. So what does it look like when the insurance company drags things out? After you submit paperwork and documentation, they may take days or even weeks to process them, and you might not hear from them for some time after that. Then, when they finally do contact you again, it may be to ask for additional unnecessary documentation that they never previously mentioned.
- Running out the statute of limitations clock. Delays also help run out the clock for the statute of limitations on personal injury lawsuits. In West Virginia, you only have two years from the date of your accident to file a personal injury claim. If the insurance company can string you along for two years, then they can avoid the hassle and headache of a personal injury lawsuit for which they would likely have to pay you more.
- Unnecessarily disputing the facts. If there was any dispute over who the at-fault party was or the severity of your injuries, be prepared for the insurance company to exploit that to its advantage.
Going up against the insurance company all on your own can be overwhelming, especially when they employ tactics that purposely string you along in hopes of forcing you to accept less than what you deserve. This is where it is advantageous to work with an attorney, as they have the experience and knowledge it takes to deal with the big insurance companies.
How Long Does It Take to Settle an Accident Claim?
It can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks to settle a car accident claim. In West Virginia, insurers have up to 40 business days to settle. If the settlement the insurance company offers is not sufficient to cover all of your damages related to the accident and they refuse to offer more, you may want to consider filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Personal injury lawsuits take longer than simply making a claim with the insurance company, and it could be several months or even a couple of years before you secure your compensation via a lawsuit.
Getting the Compensation You Deserve
You need help after a car accident. The tactics that insurers employ to delay settling your accident case can make it difficult if not impossible to access that help. Instead of focusing on your recovery, you might be more likely to feel like you are drowning under the pressure from:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Auto repair damages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
At DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC, we know that insurance companies don’t look out for car accident victims—so we do. We are proud of the hard work and expert guidance we provide to our injury clients as we fight for the compensation they deserve. When you work with one of our car attorneys, you’ll have someone on your side who will accurately value your claim, deal with the insurance company on your behalf, and always look out for what is in your best interest.
Don’t let the insurance company drag out your claim or bully you into settling for less than what you deserve. Schedule a free consultation so we can discuss the potential merits of your case in a confidential setting.