By: James M. DuBach

Insurance companies spend many millions of dollars on advertising, trying to convince the public that they are trust worthy, kind, and have our interests at heart. The truth is that they are primarily profit making enterprises, and enlarging their own bottom-line profit margin is their main goal. Insurance companies are different, however, and some are better than others in being responsible to their customers, and to the persons that their customers negligently injure.

When one of our clients suffers an injury due to another person or business’s negligence we represent our client in a claim, or lawsuit, against that person or business that negligently caused our client’s injury. Good examples of such a claim would be a car wreck, or where our client slips and falls on some substance or fluid that should have been removed. However, even though our client’s claim is against that person or business, our real adversary is the insurance company that insures the person or business that negligently caused injury to our client. Because insurance companies are the real adversary in personal injury cases, it is important for you as a consumer, or an injured person, to understand how they operate. What are the unfair insurance practices that you should know about so that, with our help, you and your loved ones will be treated fairly?

A favorite tactic of insurance companies is to try to establish contact with the person involved in a motor vehicle accident before that person has hired an attorney. Insurance companies keep very close attention to statistics, and they have learned that a person who has been significantly injured and is represented by an attorney will end up with a larger monetary settlement than will a person who does not have the benefit of legal representation. After a vehicle wreck an insurance agent will immediately start calling the injured party, even if they are in the hospital or have suffered a tragic injury, to:

  1. Influence the person to agree to a description of the wreck that is most favorable to the insurance company.
  2. Question the injured person about his or her injuries in order to “lock them in” to only the injuries that they first knew about just after the wreck. This is unfair, because often times a person simply does not know the extent of his or her injuries until many days, and sometimes weeks have passed from the time that the event occurred.
  3. Persuade the person not to hire an attorney.

Insurance agents have become mobile, and will even want to show up at your home, or the hospital, to accomplish their “quick strike” objectives. It is critical that you not fall into these traps. Be sure to contact our office immediately when you or a loved one has the misfortune of being injured.