Reasons Car Insurers Give for Underpaying Auto Accident Claims

blank car insurance claim form
blank car insurance claim form

There are numerous reasons why car insurance companies may offer less compensation than victims are seeking. Sometimes insurance companies have a good reason, but they are often only looking out for themselves. They want to save themselves money instead of paying all the compensation the victim may deserve.

In this blog, Friedman, Domiano and Smith’s experienced attorneys review the reasons insurance companies often give for underpaying claims. We also discuss what you should do if you are offered less compensation than your claim may be worth.

If you or your loved one is in this situation, call our Cleveland-based auto accident lawyers to discuss your legal options. Our firm offers a free legal consultation to help you determine your legal options. There are no upfront fees or costs, and we do not get paid unless we win.

Call us today for answers to your legal questions. 216-621-0070

Why Car Insurance Companies Make Lowball Offers

These are some of the reasons insurance companies often cite for underpaying claims or offering less compensation than victims are seeking:

  • Preexisting Conditions: Insurers often say some of the victim’s injuries predate the accident. They may offer compensation, but it may only cover a portion of your medical costs and other damages. The insurance company may also dispute the idea that the crash aggravated an existing injury. They may say the collision did not happen with enough force or at a fast enough speed.
  • Inadequate Documentation: Insurers may claim you do not have enough documentation to support the severity of your injuries. They may say you have not provided enough information about the crash or failed to provide documentation the insurance company requires. On the surface, this may sound like a valid reason. However, insurers often make unreasonable requests for documentation to delay the legal process.
  • Policy Limitations: Insurers often point to specific limitations and exclusions in the insurance policy. They may say certain parts of the policy limit coverage for the type of injury you are claiming. They may also say you are seeking more compensation than the policy allows.
  • Contributory Negligence: Some insurers underpay claims by arguing the victim is partially at fault. They are certainly within their rights to reduce a claim if the victim is partially to blame. However, you should not take the insurance company at their word. An experienced lawyer can examine your claim to determine if you bear any responsibility for what happened.
  • Quick Settlements: Insurance companies want to close out claims by paying as little as possible. They figure that a quick settlement offer will be enticing to the victim, as he or she will want to avoid a drawn-out legal process. The problem with these offers is they do not account for the full extent of your injuries and damages.

Signs You Are Being Lowballed

Car insurance companies are businesses, and they have the right to defend their interests. The question you must ask is whether a lowball settlement offer is based on solid evidence or an attempt to underpay a legitimate claim.

These are some of the signs the insurance company is trying to underpay your claim without a good reason:

The Settlement Offer Happened Too Quickly

The insurance company may say they just want to resolve the situation as fast as possible. However, this is often an attempt to reach a settlement before you fully understand the extent of your damages.

You Feel Pressured to Settle

If you feel you are being pressured to accept the offer or are told that it is the best or final offer, the insurance company may just be trying to save itself money.

The Insurance Company is Ignoring Evidence

If the insurance company dismisses or ignores vital evidence like accident photos or medical records, they may just be stalling in the hopes you will accept the small sum they are offering.

Questioning Your Injuries

Insurance companies often question the seriousness of car crash injuries, especially soft-tissue injuries. However, if you know you have serious injuries because of what your doctors have told you, the insurance company may be trying to manipulate you.

Communication Breakdown

Taking too long to respond to your inquiries or saying an email did not come through are common examples of stall tactics.

Lack of Explanation

If the insurance company does not explain how they reached their decision, it could be because they know your claim is worth more than they are offering.  

Blaming You

The insurance company could try to shift blame onto you to reduce your payout. There are certainly times where fault is shared between the victim and the other driver, but insurance companies make this claim an awful lot. You need to be sure it is accurate, and one of the best ways to do that is to review your claim with an experienced lawyer.

What Not To After an Accident

Do not speak to the insurance company for the individual who caused your accident.

Do not sign any paperwork sent to you by that insurance company. Once you sign the settlement, you cannot seek more compensation from the insurance company.

Let your lawyer handle all communication with the insurance company. Adjusters know how to manipulate victims. You also risk saying something that makes it sound like you may be at fault or lessens the significance of your injuries, like:

  • “I should have been more careful.”
  • “I am sorry for the accident.”
  • “I don’t think I’m hurt that badly.”

Call Friedman, Domiano & Smith to Discuss Your Accident

Our law firm is committed to injured victims, not large insurance companies looking to deny or underpay claims at every turn. We work on contingency, so there are no upfront costs with our services. We do not get paid unless we win, either through a settlement or in the courtroom.

Contact us to discuss your legal options after an Ohio car crash: 216-621-0070.


Comments are now closed