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Kansas City, Missouri car crash accident lawyer
Negotiating with Missouri insurance carriers after a car crash in Kansas City:
If you attempt to negotiate with an insurance carrier after a car crash in Kansas City or elsewhere in Missouri, you’ll quickly be confronted with the “3 D’s” that are commonly employed by auto insurance carriers in Missouri: Delay, Deny, and Discourage. Simply put, automobile insurers begin their efforts to limit the amount they pay on claims from the very first phone call.
Common tactics Missouri auto insurance companies use to avoid paying out the fair value of auto injury claims, prior to a lawsuit being filed:
Insurance carriers hate paying out the fair value of claims and they work to avoid doing so from the moment they first learn of a claim.
1. Requesting recorded statements, then using trained representatives to ask questions in a suggestive manner. For as long as there have been telephones and devices to record phone calls, insurance companies have recorded the statements of parties and witnesses to an accident or injury.
These conversations often feature an insurance company representative who is trained to ask questions in a manner which helps the insurance carrier limit their liability.
One tactic is to ask “you weren’t seriously injured, right?” First, everyone’s definition of “serious” is different. First, the way the question is asked suggests the answer. Second, these conversations often occur before a person even knows what their injuries are or how serious they may be. Third, in a car crash or accident where someone died and/or someone was paralyzed, another person might not think a significant injury was “serious” as compared to the others involved. This is simply one example of how insurance company representatives work to avoid paying out the fair value of Missouri personal injury and wrongful death claims.
2. Claiming they do not have enough information to determine fault. Sometimes it takes time to investigate a claim and figure out who was at fault, but most of the time fault is extremely clear. When someone is sitting at a traffic light and they’re rear-ended, fault is clear. When someone is t-boned by a drunk driver running a red light in Kansas City, fault is clear. Despite this, insurance companies will often delay admitting that their insured was at fault – one of the “3 D’s” mentioned above.
3. Making unreasonably low settlement offers (“low-balling”). Missouri automobile insurance companies train their adjustors to routinely make a series of laughably low settlement offers. Additionally, Missouri insurance adjustors are often reviewed on how well they employ these tactics. Adjustors who make reasonable settlement offers are fired, while adjustors who are not reasonable are promoted. Missouri insurance carriers hope that some people will accept the offers, but they’re really using the low-ball offers as a psychological tactic, part of the “discourage” portion of the “3 D’s.” By repeatedly making unreasonably low offers, the insurance carriers are utilizing the psychological tactic of anchoring.
4. Making promises that they do not keep. Missouri insurance company representatives and adjustors will often make promises to pay medical bills or provide proper compensation, then later “forget” those promises.
5. Attempting to reduce the amount they pay because “you’re not paying an attorney.”When people are injured in car crashes and attempt to negotiate without an attorney, it is common for Missouri insurance adjustors to attempt to reduce the amount paid on the claim because they are not going to have to pay an attorney. This tactic is as obnoxious as it sounds, the insurance carrier is trying to penalize a person who is trying to quickly and efficiently resolve their claim.
6. Giving legal advice despite not having a license to practice law. We have never encountered an insurance adjustor who is also a lawyer. Despite this, insurance adjustors handling personal injury or wrongful death claims in Missouri often claim to be experts in the law and tell people that they know what the law is. Making matters worse, insurance adjustors often handle claims in multiple states, with reports that some are even assigned to 8 or more states. Knowing the law of a single state is difficult, knowing the law of 8 or more states is nearly impossible for anyone. If an insurance representative attempts to give you legal advice, we strongly recommend that you report them to the Missouri Office of the Disciplinary Administrator who will investigate the insurance carrier’s practice of having their representatives give legal advice:
Office of the Chief Disciplinary Counsel
3327 American Avenue
Jefferson City, MO 65109
7. Giving medical advice without a license to practice medicine. Missouri insurance representatives will routinely tell injured people that they are exaggerating their injuries, that treatment wasn’t necessary, or that they should seek specific treatment. These representatives are not doctors, yet they’re comfortable giving you medical advice or contradicting the medical advice of actual doctors. When this happens to you or your loved ones, this office recommends that you calmly get the representatives information, take detailed notes of the conversation, and then forward this to the appropriate regulatory body.
3605 Missouri Boulevard P.O. Box 4
Jefferson City, MO 65102
573-751-0098 573-751-3166 (Fax)