Insurance companies often take advantage of people before they have had a chance to talk to an attorney; they even discourage people from getting legal advice. Why? The insurance company saves money by limiting the overall money paid out on your behalf, and will find a way to stop or lower your weekly payments, stop your medical care and pay as small of a settlement as possible. The system is designed to help you, but the insurance industry is designed to make money.
Guess what? You may NOT need an attorney to represent you in your case, however, you should be sure that you should never sign papers, agree to do something or even settle a case without understanding the system. Believe it or not, we have seen instances where the insurance claims adjuster did not tell an injured worker that she MIGHT have to wait months for approval of a simple medical procedure if that adjuster would just have authorized it instead; or that they can reduce your weekly payments whenever they want to, unless there has been an actual decision by a Workers’ Compensation Law Judge.
We’ve listed below six other examples of tactics wev’e seen insurance companies use just to wear you out and get you to go away. Remember, you might or might not need an attorney to help you file a claim if you’ve been injured. But, you do want to be sure you understand the system. If you’ve been in an accident, and are deciding how to proceed, feel free to call Markhoff & Mittman toll free at 1-855-614-4351 for a FREE Consultation with one of our attorneys or complete our form and an attorney will be in touch with you. We will review your situation and help you determine the best course of action for your particular situation.
1. Deliberate Delay – Insurance companies know that often you are in a financial squeeze. Even if your health has improved, but you are still disabled, the fact that you aren’t working may make it difficult to pay your mortgage, rent, electric bill, car and other payments. Simply by delaying weekly payments, reducing those benefits before you appear before the Workers’ Compensation Board, or even denying needed medical care they will take a huge step in the direction of wearing you out.
2. Requesting Unnecessary Information – Insurance companies will insist that you track down and remember every little piece of information before they can evaluate your claim. They are happy to wait another six weeks for you to get the information. Meanwhile, they are earning interest on the money they are NOT paying you. In fact, the Insurance Industry has even convinced the Workers’ Compensation Board to require you to provide past medical information that may not be relevant at all (the so-called 2007 NY Workers’ Compensation “Reforms.”)
3. Disputing Medical Treatment – Even though we’ve never met an insurance adjuster who went to medical school, they seem to know just what treatment is right for you! We’ve heard them so “we know that you were over treated because our computers say you should have been better by now.” In fact, by making you provide irrelevant past medical evidence, they “know that your current disability is due to your ten year old knee injury” even though you have been working up until your current accident with ever losing time before.
4. Nickel and Dime the Medical Charges – Think about it. If insurance companies just shave 5% off your claim and can do that to the millions of claims made each year, they get richer and richer. In fact, they force many medical practioners out of the practice of serving injured workers. We’ve seen it time and time again – medical providers stop treating injured workers because the insurance carrier has decided to stop paying the medical provider.
5. Claiming Your Employer has a Light Duty Job You Can Do – In an effort to get you back to work before you are actually ready to do so, the insurance company will often claim, based on a quick call and no medical evidence, that your employer has work that you can do within your medical restrictions, even though the adjuster has no real idea what your restrictions are! Even when your doctor provides restrictions and limitations, they only pay attention to what THEIR paid medical consultant says.
6. Acting Like Your Friend and Making False Promises – Watch out for the adjuster who befriends you, calls you often and promises to authorize all the treatment you need and promises to quickly pay your weekly benefits, and even send a nurse of investigator to you or your doctor’s office to make sure you are getting what you deserve! This is a tactic to stop you from hiring a lawyer! As far as promising all the medical treatment you need, they will pay until the hire an independent medical examiner who determines after a two minute exam you no longer need the treatment.