When you are injured in an accident or on the job, you will likely need to negotiate with an insurance company to obtain the money you need to recover. While this might seem like a relatively easy task, the truth is that insurance companies work tirelessly to reduce their own liabilities, regardless of your situation. Their primary objective is to protect their bottom line and they do this by thoroughly investigating your accident, your injuries, and your claim. Their insurance claims adjusters can be ruthless when conducting an investigation into your accident and your injuries. Sometimes, they go to extraordinary measures to find the evidence they need to reduce the amount of money you receive.
How does an Insurance Investigation Work?
- Opening a File: The first thing an insurance company will do is to open a file and assign your file to an insurance claims adjuster. This is the person who will investigate the details of your accident and your injury to negotiate a settlement of the claim. These insurance adjusters are essentially investigators throughout the claims process.
- Compiling Evidence: The insurance adjuster will begin to compile evidence, including statements from the insured party, the accident report, and any official records that may exist. When you file a claim, the insurance adjuster will provide you with detailed information on the applicable policy limits. The insurance adjuster will then ask you to provide documents of your injuries and damages. This often includes medical records, medical bills, proof of earnings, and proof of property damage.
- Checking Social Media: The adjuster will then begin the investigation of you and your accident, attempting to locate any negative information that might help them lower the value of your claim. They will check to see if you’ve ever filed a previous lawsuit and they will even check on social media for evidence that you may not truly be as injured as you claim to be. Social media evidence is critical for their investigation.
- Recorded Statements: Insurance adjusters will then ask you to give a recorded statement describing your injuries and your accident. These recorded statements are often designed to obtain the valuable information they can use to reduce your claims. Do not give them a recorded statement without first speaking to an experienced insurance attorney. Attorneys are skilled and experienced in recognizing insurance investigators’ traps and they can help you avoid them.
- Settling the Claim: Once the insurance adjuster has gathered all the information, they will attempt to put a value on the case and try to settle the case. Never agree to any settlement with the insurance company without first speaking to an experienced lawyer. Your attorney will be able to protect your rights to compensation and negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company.
Personal Injury Investigation
A personal injury claim is often met with extreme skepticism by the insurance company and their adjusters. During a personal injury investigation, the adjuster will attempt to find evidence to counteract your claims of an injury. They will often visit social media sites to investigate recent posts and pictures. If they find a picture of you out having fun at a party a week after your injury, they might try to use this to justify denying your claim.
Medical records are an extremely important piece of the puzzle in a personal injury claim. Adjusters spend a lot of time combing through medical records and bills. In many cases, insurance adjusters will try to get year’s worth of past medical records in an attempt to prove a preexisting condition. They do this so they can reduce your claim or offer you a lower settlement. Do not sign any medical authorizations, however, without first speaking to an experienced personal injury lawyer. Attorneys are skilled in protecting your rights and helping you to avoid potential insurance investigator traps.
Workers’ Compensation Investigations
Workers’ compensation claims aren’t always easily accepted and sometimes the insurance company will go to extreme measures to investigate injured workers. Workers’ compensation fraud is a serious issue, and as such, insurance companies will investigate these cases closely. To investigate a workers’ compensation claim, insurance investigators may use audio, video, or other types of surveillance to determine if a worker is as injured as they claim to be. They may interview colleagues, friends, and family members to gather evidence. And they may even perform extensive background checks on you, including gathering your medical records, employment records, and any history of filing claims.
A workers’ compensation investigation is a serious investigation, and workers’ compensation fraud is a serious offense. As such, it is important to retain the services of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney as soon as you are injured, to ensure that you receive the money and benefits you are entitled to after a workplace accident.
Insurance Adjusters Are Often Aggressive
Immediately after an accident, injured accident victims or workplace accident victims are in a vulnerable position. They are injured, often unable to work, and dealing with the stress of rising medical bills. They may be in pain, unable to provide for their families, and worried about what the future holds. Insurance adjusters and insurance investigators know this and they often use this knowledge to their advantage. They may become aggressive, use a “take it or leave it” approach, or simply refuse to negotiate. These are all strategies designed to increase the pressure on the accident victim and coerce them into signing a quick and low-ball settlement.
This is why it is so important to have a reputable and experienced injury attorney on your side from the start. Your attorney will be able to negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf while focusing on obtaining you the maximum compensation. This allows you to focus your energy and your time on what matters most after an accident – your recovery.