man sorting through piles of paperworkIf you were injured in a Missouri car accident that was not your fault, you might expect that the other motorist’s insurance company will cover the costs of your injuries. After all, Missouri requires that all registered vehicles be insured precisely so that nobody goes into debt on account of another person’s poor decision. However, automobile insurance companies are for-profit businesses, and they will do everything they can to save themselves money—even if it means driving down the value of your settlement.

How Insurers Reduce the Value of Your Car Accident Insurance Claim 

Insurance companies might have a legal obligation to provide compensation if their customer hurts you in a car accident. Unfortunately, this does not mean they have an obligation to be fair. Insurance companies often use tricks and discreet strategies to coerce claimants into accepting low settlements. For example, they might:

  • Refuse to take your calls. Missouri is a fault state, which means you must collect compensation through the at-fault motorist’s insurance company. While most insurance adjusters and agents are honest people, others might try to dissuade you from collecting compensation by simply refusing to take your calls or respond to your emails. As silly as it sounds, they might hope that you will simply give up and accept defeat.
  • Bury you in paperwork requests. The adjuster could try to string you along, requesting a never-ending stream of documents. They might even ask you to release sensitive medical records. However, you should never send personal information to another motorist’s insurance company. They do not want to help you—they want to frustrate you.
  • Use your own words against you. You should never agree to provide an insurance adjuster with a recorded statement until you have spoken to a Missouri car accident attorney. While the adjuster might tell you that he wants to hear your side of the story, he is actually looking for opportunities to use your own words against you.
  • Offer you a low-ball settlement. If the insurance company knows that you have a strong case, they might offer a quick settlement. Oftentimes, this offer is sufficient to cover some of your short-term costs and needs. However, it almost certainly will not account for the income you lost from work, the physical rehabilitation you may need for months after the accident, or your enduring emotional pain and suffering.
  • Tell you that you do not need an attorney. Whenever you are in a car accident, you stand your best chance of making a full legal recovery when you have an experienced attorney. Insurance companies know this, which is why they mislead claimants by telling them that “a lawyer will only make things more difficult.” The truth is that insurance companies are afraid of attorneys because they know we can appraise the value of a claim and will not accept a bad-faith settlement.

Don’t Let the Insurance Company Take Advantage—Contact an Attorney Today

If you were involved in a serious car accident, it is only a matter of time before you hear from the other motorist’s insurance company. While the adjuster might be a good person who is genuinely upset to see your injuries, they are still beholden to their employer’s bottom line.

You should never have to take your chances with a company that cares more about turning a profit than helping the injured. The Law Office of Layton & Southard could help put the insurance company in their place. We could:

  • Investigate the circumstances of your accident
  • Collect the evidence you need to show the other motorist was at fault
  • Calculate the true value of your injuries and other damages
  • Negotiate with the insurance company
  • Take the other motorist and their insurer to court if they refuse to negotiate in good faith
Megan D. Andrews
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