If you’re hurt due to someone else’s negligence, you’ve suffered a personal injury that entitles you to compensation for your medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Some examples of personal injury cases are:
- Vehicle accidents
- Slip and falls
- Premises liability
- Paratransit accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Work-related injuries/illnesses
To collect compensation for damages, you must generally file a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance company (or your employer’s insurance company in a workers’ compensation case). Don’t assume, however, that the insurance company will take your word that its policy holder is responsible and pay up. Insurance companies try to protect their bottom line, and they remain profitable by denying as many claims as possible.
Even if your claim is completely legitimate, the insurance company’s adjusters and attorneys are going to treat it as potentially fraudulent and do anything possible to avoid giving you fair compensation. They will use a variety of evidence-gathering tactics to dispute your claim.
Tactics to Dispute Your Claim
ISO Search Report. Insurance companies have access to the Insurance Services Office (ISO), which can use your name, address, vehicle registration, and other data to find insurance claims you’ve filed in the past. If you’ve filed recent or multiple claims, the insurer might interpret your history as an indication of possible fraud and dispute your current claim.
Background Investigation. The insurance company can hire an investigator to look into:
- Your residence/location/occupation
- Family members or others who live in your home
- Vehicles driven by those in the household
- Any permits/licenses you hold
- Your criminal record/past driving offenses
- Property that you own
- Businesses that you (and/or your spouse) own or operate
The insurance company also has access to databases with almost any information about you that exists and can interpret it to your detriment, even if your claim is legitimate.
Photo/Video Surveillance. An investigator may not trespass on your property or photograph you in a private building, but they may record all of your public activities, including what you do in your front yard/driveway if it’s visible from the street. The investigative report will note:
- Whether you’re moving normally or with difficulty (limping or using assistive devices, for example)
- Whether you drive, walk, or are being driven
- Your destination(s)
- How long you’re away from home
- Any socializing with others
- Your clothing/shoes/physical activities
The investigator’s visual evidence could be taken out of context to give the impression you’re not really as injured/disabled as you claim to be.
Internet Search. The insurance company can easily access online information about you and your activities, including:
- Your personal/business websites and blogs
- Your comments on the websites/blogs of others
- Photos of you involved in various activities even if they aren’t recent
- Articles, reviews, or blogs written about you at any time
Social Media Investigations. Because people today post many photos and details about their lives on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, an insurance company can check your social media activity and easily find significant information about you:
- Your daily activities
- Family vacations/recent trips/leisure activities
- Status/relationship changes
If a photo or comment can be taken out of context and used to dispute your claim, the insurance company will use it to do so.
Medical Records/Recorded Statement. An insurance adjuster might contact you after your accident/injury and ask for:
- Access to your medical records
- A recorded statement about your injury
Because adjusters are experts at using your own words against you and blaming your injury on pre-existing medical conditions, you should not grant either request without first speaking to a personal injury attorney.
Your best means of protection against the tactics of the insurance company are:
- Be honest: Give accurate but minimal information to the insurance company and communicate openly with your attorney about everything. Any dishonest or inaccurate statement can easily be revealed and used against you later.
- Be private: Don’t discuss your case with anyone except your lawyer.
- Be smart with social media: Use privacy/security settings to prevent sharing your information, or simply stay off social media until your case is resolved.
- Be smart and follow your doctor’s orders: Complete all treatment/therapy recommended by your doctor, and keep receipts/documentation of your appointments.
Have You Suffered a Personal Injury in Maryland?
The experienced personal injury attorneys at Poole Law Group can protect you against the tactics of a deceitful insurance company. Please contact us online, start a chat, or call us today to schedule your free consultation. You pay no attorney fees unless we win your case.