Many injured parties schedule an appointment with a Las Vegas car accident lawyer only when they realize that the other party’s insurance company is offering a lowball amount or even after they got the claim they filed on their own denied. Unfortunately, in some cases, these accident victims sign documents that bar them from taking further legal action. In other cases, they give statements and grant permissions to insurance adjusters to access their medical records, making it very hard for a Las Vegas car accident lawyer to win their case.
At Nettles Morris law firm, we want to be able to assist every injured person in recovering the fair amount of compensatory damages they are entitled to. In order to do so, we want to warn potential clients that insurance companies use a series of unethical and even illegal tactics to deny or devalue your claim. You need to know them, in order to avoid the pitfalls before you get to discuss your case with a Las Vegas car accident lawyer at our firm.
Are Insurance Companies Allowed to Use These Tactics?
What you will read below may make you question whether these things actually happen. We assure you that they do happen on a daily basis. What insurance adjusters do is extremely unfair, insensitive and unethical. Sometimes, their actions teeter on the line between lawful and unlawful.
They will approach you when you are in a vulnerable state, in pain, and worried about your chances of recovery and try to do one of the following:
1. Offer You a Quick Settlement Immediately after the Accident
This is one of the most common tactics used by insurance companies. Accident victims are barely able to realize what has happened to them and an adjuster contacts them to settle the case. Car accident lawyers in Las Vegas warn you against accepting any kind of quick settlement, even verbally. Irrespective whether the conversation is in person or over the phone, chances are high that it is recorded.
At a later date, your acceptance will be used as proof that you already settled your case and you have no further legal options.
2. Ask You to Sign a Medical Authorization
A medical authorization gives the insurance company the rights to obtain all your medical records, from all healthcare professionals who treated you, including:
- Your family doctor
- Your dentist
- Hospitals and clinics
- Pain management specialists.
Why shouldn’t you give this authorization to anyone except your Las Vegas car accident lawyer? The answer is because the insurance adjuster will seek any previous injury or illness and claim that you already suffered from the condition that you state is a result of the traffic accident.
However, you should disclose any pre-existing condition to your lawyer, because at a certain point it may be necessary to take it into account (when you file a personal injury lawsuit, the opposing lawyer may access your medical records).
3. Ask You to Give a Recorded Statement Concerning the Accident
Car accident lawyers in Las Vegas know that any recorded statement becomes a piece of evidence that can and will be used against you. Also, lawyers know that insurance adjusters are skilled in leading accident victims to make self incriminatory statements.
In your vulnerable state, you may not be fully aware of everything you say to an adjuster. You may say “I’m sorry” or “I’m not in so much pain now” (that is because you received painkillers). These statements will be used to deny your claim or devalue it.
4. State that Your Treatment Will Be Compensated Up to a Certain Point
Only your doctors can decide when you reached the point of maximum medical improvement. Yet, an insurance adjuster may brazenly tell you that you should stop the treatment at a certain point, because you won’t receive compensation beyond that point.
This is not only untrue, but also dangerous, because it may leave you with an incompletely treated condition or injury which may get worse over time. In reality, all your medical care expenses – hospital stay, surgeries, prescription pills and physical therapy – are eligible for recovery from the at-fault party.
5. Misrepresent the Value of Coverage Available in Nevada
If they can get away with it, insurance adjusters will tell the injured party that the amount of insurance coverage available to compensate them is much lower than the true one. In most cases, they will even give a number below the minimum mandatory coverage required for any driver in Nevada.
Car accident lawyers in Nevada will find out the actual amount of the coverage and, if it is not sufficient to cover all your damages, instruct you to sue the at-fault driver for the remaining amount.
6. Misrepresent the Type of Damages You Are Allowed to Recover
When other tactics fail, insurance companies will try to limit the types of damages you include in your claim. Typically, they will exclude lost wages, costs with counseling and minimize your non-economic damages (for pain and suffering).
Your Las Vegas car accident lawyer knows that there is no legal basis for arbitrarily excluding different types of damages. During negotiations, the attorney will justify every dollar and every cent in your claim and, in most of the cases, win the maximum compensation you deserve. In the rare situations when the insurer refuses to settle, the lawyer will instruct you to file a personal injury lawsuit.
7. Tell You that You Don’t Need a Las Vegas Car Accident Lawyer
In some cases, when they notice that you know your rights, the insurance adjuster will tell you that you can reach an agreement with them without an attorney. Why reduce your claim amount by paying a lawyer’s fee?
In reality, the lawyer’s fee is a small portion of the amount of money you lose by deciding to file and negotiate your claim on your own. Insurance companies will manipulate you into accepting a lowball amount, without any further recovery options.
8. Delay Making a Decision until It Is Too Late to Sue
Insurance companies know that the statute of limitations in Nevada is 2 years after the date of the accident. Thus, they will postpone the moment when they reach an agreement with you. When they finally tell you that they have approved your claim and, obviously, offer you a very small amount of money, they know that you don’t have time to file a lawsuit.
For this reason, you should contact a Las Vegas car accident lawyer as soon as possible after your crash. Lawyers know how to counteract these delay tactics and obtain your fair settlement or take your case to court on time.
Our Car Accident Law Firm Is Ready to Win the Maximum Settlement You Deserve!
At Nettles Morris, we have a combined experience of 30 years working for insurance companies. This is why we know exactly the type of tactics they use to deny or devalue your claim. We now use our experience and knowledge of the law to help accident victims find justice and obtain the fair compensation they deserve.
We work on a contingency fee basis, so you do not have to pay any upfront fees. Reach out to us to schedule your initial consultation: 702-410-6239!