What Are Some Of The Defenses That You See Insurance Companies Use To Avoid Paying Out On Injury Claims?
I’ve been doing this a long time, and so, I’ve talked to many insurance adjusters. A number of them are nice human beings, but, the truth is, that they are an adjuster for a defense insurance company. Their job is to minimize how much you get in an automobile accident. That’s their job, and they take it seriously. They’re very good at it, and often follow the same type of script to try to whittle away responsibility and liability in terms of what happened. They want you, the plaintiff, to accept a certain amount of liability, and that it’s not 100% of their driver’s fault. In terms of the injuries, that’s where they fight really hard because New York law requires proof of serious permanent injury. They will assert that the injured plaintiff does not meet the “serious-permanent injury” threshold requirement. That’s why it’s critical to have strong medical proof of the injury so that we are able to refute their argument.
If two people come into my office with the same exact injury; one treats a lot and has testing done while the other one can’t be bothered by going to the doctor much, their results will be dramatically different. That’s the first thing that insurance companies do on the injury side. They challenge whether or not the injured plaintiff meets the serious injury threshold. Next, when our client is able to help us prove that there is a serious permanent injury, they try to say that the injury was pre-existing. It was based on some other time the person was hurt, or they don’t even have an injury. Sometimes, they just say that it’s part of the aging process and that it has nothing to do with the head-on collision that their insured caused. Of course, we aggressively fight that as well.
However, even if we are able to prove that the injury is related to the accident and that it is not due to the aging process or some other thing that might have happened in the past, they will fight us in other ways. They will fight us asserting that the plaintiff was not wearing their seatbelt, and challenge the value. They will look for any way to weasel out of their responsibility for paying. They will pay as little as possible. That’s why it’s very important for people who are hurt to have an experienced attorney who can guide them through the process.
If you’re going to the doctor just three or four times and not taking any tests a year after you’ve been hurt, the insurance company will argue that you don’t meet the threshold. They’re going to offer you nothing. Unless you have a time machine, there’s not a lot you’re going to be able to do. Whereas if you retain the services of an experienced law firm, and meet with them in the beginning, you can understand the process fully and become much better positioned to get the compensation that you deserve.
Why Does Someone Even Need An Attorney If They’ve Been In A Collision Where The Other Party Is Clearly At-Fault?
As previously mentioned, it’s a difficult process. It is more complicated than most people realize, and you really do need an attorney every step of the way. An attorney can help explain the process and get you the settlement that you deserve.
How Long Does An Insurance Company Have To Settle A Claim In New York?
An insurance company doesn’t really have a time limit per se. That’s part of the problem. They can drag things out. As an experienced attorney, part of my job is to make sure that they don’t drag their feet. For instance, if my client was in an accident, and he or she was treated for a certain amount of time, did the testing, submitted proof of their injury, and proof of how the accident happened, and the insurance company is taking an unreasonable amount of time reviewing their claim, that is not acceptable. As their attorney in that situation, I would need to bring out the hammer and push that claim to court to get it out of the insurance company’s hands. Once it’s submitted as a lawsuit, then it’s a different process and the insurance company can’t slow it down.
If The Insurance Company, My Attorney, And Myself, All Agree Upon A Settlement Amount, How Long Does It Generally Take Before I Actually Receive The Claim?
In the past, a few years ago when there was a settlement, the insurance company had to submit the payment within 30 days. In truth, they are often much faster than that. From the time we get a settlement, general release, and the various documents signed by our client, the insurance company and the attorneys, most of the time, would send us the money in about two weeks. But now, we are finding that there are a lot of government entities that may or may not have an interest in a case. They might have provided extra medical liens or extra medical treatment. As a result, we need to confirm that there isn’t a lien. And often, that will take a little bit more time. But it’s worth taking that time to make sure that there won’t be a governmental entity that will want repayment down the road.