When involved in an auto accident, North Carolina is a bad place to be. Insurance companies always investigate claims diligently even when they know they will be required to pay some amount. North Carolina already has a contributory negligence law that caters completely to the insurance companies, but they still want to reduce the amount a valid claim will eventually cost them. Insurance companies usually attempt to accomplish this task by reducing the original settlement they offer to injured victims. This tactic is typically used against a passenger in a covered vehicle, but they also do this with vehicle owners who were driving at the time even when they are totally innocent of fault in the incident. Car crash attorneys in North Carolina see this far too often when representing injured accident victims, and they know how to counter-claim when insurance companies are trying to low-ball the first offer and obtain a quickly closed case for well under its actual value.
Here are a few ways they do this –
The first step most auto accident insurance companies in North Carolina take in denying a claim is either counter-claiming contributory negligence against drivers or deflecting responsibility to another insurance company for passengers. Passengers and drivers get different responses from most auto insurance companies. North Carolina uses the contributory negligence law that allows them to refuse claims from drivers with any percentage of fault, and they use it in every case. This means that the only recourse is the driver’s insurance company in the vehicle in which they were riding. Additionally, it puts injured passengers in a position of not knowing what company should receive their claim. The final result is having to take the case to trial.
Requesting Multiple Medical Evaluations
Depending on the seriousness of an injury, most claimants will have multiple medical treatment records of their injuries. Many accident victims receive head and back injuries or whiplash on some level, all of which could require evaluation and treatment from a specialist. General practitioners are rarely involved in an accident injury situation. They typically refer patients to specialists anyway. Emergency medical professionals usually conduct the first diagnosis and can also refer the victim to a specialist, many times one that is registered with their hospital. Many victims are actually still in the facility when this occurs. However, multiple reevaluations aside from requesting a second opinion from their in-house doctors is a primary sign they are going to low-ball the first offer to settle and maybe force the case to court.
Arguing Seriousness of Injury
Another tactic insurance companies use to reduce a claim value is arguing that the injury is being exaggerated by the claimant and their medical doctors. This is usually done in conjunction with counter diagnosis and prognosis by the purported third-party doctor they request to perform an “independent” examination. These doctors look for any technicality they can find to discount the severity of an injury, especially when the victim claimant is still mobile to any extent. They will even employ private investigators in some cases when they think a report can support the company’s claims of false representation of injuries.
Making a Quick Offer to Settle
Claims that will obviously require payment can sometimes be reduced by convincing the claimant that the first offer is all the company owes in financial liability. These offers are typically only calculated using the specific damages that can be stated in exact dollar numbers and have no consideration for general damages regarding pain and suffering due to ongoing issues with the injuries. General damages for future problems are actually what makes claimants financially whole in the long run, and they are always the damages that car crash attorneys focus on when evaluating a fair settlement amount to end the claim. This is actually the first sign that the company is not negotiating fairly and has no intention to do so, and it is also a sign that a bad-faith lawsuit may be available as well when it can be proven.
All North Carolina auto accident victims should remember that insurance companies in the state are particularly harsh when making offers to settle any injury claim. The accident insurance claim laws in the state are heavily in favor of the insurance companies, and car crash attorneys must be diligent themselves when representing injured clients. It is always essential to have strong legal counsel when filing a claim for whole damages in North Carolina. And it is important to retain a law firm with a long track record of results for their clients, and a firm that is also willing to pursue bad-faith charges against the responsible insurance provider.
Kellum Law Firm has 40+ years of experience helping car accident and injury victims settler claims against insurance companies. Call 1-800-ACCIDENT today and speak with one of our car accident attorneys – your consultation is free from any charge and free from any obligation to retain our services.