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Why Do Insurance Companies Delay Paying Valid Claims?

Car accidents are traumatic experiences that cause significant physical pain, emotional trauma, and financial hardship. Even mild car accident injuries may result in a missed paycheck and a large emergency room bill. Serious or catastrophic injuries can have life-altering consequences on your ability to earn a living or accomplish daily routines.

Whether the injuries are mild and fully recoverable or they result in ongoing partial or total disability, when another driver’s negligence caused the accident, their insurance should pay out on your claim for damages like property damage, medical expenses, lost income, and compensation for pain and suffering.

Unfortunately, despite their sentimental commercials and compassionate ads, insurance companies exist to make profits—even if it’s at your expense. One of the most common insurance company tactics to protect profits is to delay processing a car accident victim’s claim. Why do insurers delay claims, and is there a remedy to this tactic?

Why Insurance Companies Delay, Deny, and Defend Against Payouts

Car insurance companies have a range of methods they use to protect their profits. After a car accident, the insurance company of the at-fault party assigns an adjuster to the case. The insurance adjuster’s job is to find ways to minimize the amount they have to pay out or to deny the claim completely. They may offer a low settlement immediately after the accident before you know the true extent of your financial losses hoping you’ll accept the claim in a vulnerable moment.

If you don’t accept their first lowball settlement offer, you can expect a long series of delays if not outright denials of your claim. They may call you on a recorded line and use your words out of context against you and then deny your claim on the basis that you “admitted fault” or that you aren’t as injured as you claim. They may decide to defend their dispute of your injury claim all the way to court. Many times they’ll offer another low settlement late in the game hoping you’ll accept to avoid the court process.

In addition to the insurance company’s routine delays to wear down injury victims into settling for a low payout, they also pad their profit margins by continuing to collect interest on the premiums they collect. By holding onto the money they owe you as long as possible, the amount continues to gather interest in the company’s accounts.

Delaying Tactics Used By Insurance Companies After a Car Accident

Car insurance adjusters may engage in the following behaviors to delay your claim:

  • Fail to return calls
  • Put off investigating the accident
  • Misplace paperwork
  • Send you packets of redundant information to fill out
  • Request extensions to process your claim
  • Change adjusters to begin the entire process over again
  • Claim that they cannot process the claim because you haven’t provided adequate information
  • Argue that you were partly responsible for the accident so they can reduce your payout by the percentage of fault they assign you

Insurance companies commonly stall through every step of the way. Delaying your payout works to their advantage not only so they continue to collect interest on the amount of money they owe in your claim and to make it easier to bully you into accepting a low settlement, but also to make it impossible for you to file a lawsuit by extending the process until the statute of limitations expires in your case.

Is There a Remedy to Insurance Company Delays?

The best way to handle a car accident claim is to gather the police report, your medical report, and any other evidence after an accident and hire an experienced car accident attorney. Then, direct all communication with insurance companies to your lawyer. An experienced car accident attorney can ensure prompt action on your claim by anticipating and counteracting common insurance company tactics like delaying or unfairly denying your valid claim.

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