Going Through the Personal Injury “Claims Maze”
Although insurance companies usually want to get claims settled quickly, there are some cases where the insurer has an interest in stonewalling your personal injury claim, because benefits delayed are benefits denied. By dragging out a claim for months or even years before agreeing to a settlement, insurance companies may seek to frustrate the claimant into settling for a lesser amount. If they go too far with this, they may be found liable to pay damages in bad faith. If you have been involved in an accident and are filing a personal injury claim with the insurance company, an Irvine personal injury attorney may be able to help you deal with your insurer.
These are some common tactics used by insurers to stonewall cases:
The insurer might set up a “claims maze“ in which the claim supposedly goes to a claims committee and back to the main office, even though there is no such thing as a claims committee, and the main office handles all claims anyway. This fictional barrier is set up to delay the processing of your case; it is also meant to test your patience to see if you still insist on seeking the full payment guaranteed by the policy. Claims representatives who are swamped with cases might try this as a stalling tactic. Some insurers have also been known to delay claims processing by requesting that the insured party sign forms that have already been requested and received by the insurer.
A similar tactic is to request pertinent information from the claimant piecemeal and one at a time to prolong the time it takes to gather and send out the information. Instead of sending a single catch-all request for documentation of your case, they might ask for small pieces over the course of several months.
Larger, bureaucratic insurers might also play the musical chairs game of shuffling claimants around from one claims representative to another in order to confuse, befuddle, and frustrate the claimant who can’t seem to get a straight answer to any questions. This is a structural organizational technique that an insurer might use to delay making any claim payments. Alternately, some insurers have low employee retention rates and have to constantly get new adjusters up to speed on files, which can result in repeating requests for information and documents.
If you have questions about how your insurance company might stonewall your personal injury claim, contact Irvine personal injury attorney Samer Habbas for a free consultation.