If you or someone you care about has been involved in a Houston auto accident lawsuit, you probably already know some of the ways in which insurance companies can attempt to get out of paying for injuries and repair costs associated with a serious automobile collision. While most insurance adjusters and representatives stay within the letter of the law while managing costs on behalf of their employers, some companies have engaged in deceptive and potentially criminal activities in attempts to avoid paying out on legitimate claims. Enlisting the assistance of a qualified Houston auto accidents attorney is usually the best solution to these denials of valid insurance claims. Here are some of the most common tactics used by unscrupulous insurance companies in the consumer marketplace.
Delaying Settlement or Payment of Claims
Insurance companies have a financial interest in limiting the amount they pay out on claims each year. Delaying the processing of claims can sometimes discourage policyholders and may allow the insurer to settle the claim for a lower amount or to avoid paying out on these claims altogether. Texas law establishes strict time limits for insurers to accept or deny your claim. By requesting additional information or making unreasonable demands, your insurance company may be able to delay payment on your claim for an extended period of time.
Denying Valid Claims
In some cases, insurance companies will attempt to avoid their financial responsibility by denying your claim outright. When insurers deny claims without adequate reason, they are said to have acted in bad faith. Unreasonable interpretations of policy clauses, failure to conduct a fair and comprehensive investigation and cancellation of policies without advance warning are all signs that an insurance company may be denying the valid claims of its policyholders. In some cases, the insurance adjuster may even claim that injuries were not sustained in the accident in question.
Making Lowball Initial Offers
Many insurance companies will attempt to minimize their payouts by offering a smaller settlement as a first negotiating tactic. Adjusters employ these strategies because they often work. Some of the reasons that accident victims might accept the first offer include the following:
- Lack of knowledge regarding the insurance claim and settlement process
- Fear that the offer might be withdrawn
- A desire to put the incident behind them
- A mistaken impression that the insurance company is looking out for their best interests
It is almost never in your best interest to accept the first offer made by your insurance company. Even a short delay can often elicit a better settlement offer from your insurer.
Retaining the services of a qualified attorney can provide accident victims with the most effective support in reaching fair Houston auto accident settlements and achieving reasonable compensation for injuries and damages. This can reduce the financial burden caused by these incidents and can ensure a brighter future for you and your family.