Florida Personal Injury: How Insurance Companies Really View Claims
If you believe television ads, your insurance company will meet you at the scene of an accident and settle your claim on the spot. No hassles, no squabbles and your claim will be paid in full. Unfortunately, what's depicted on television isn't generally what happens in the real world.
What really happens
According to Eric Block, a Florida personal injury lawyer whose practice concentrates on personal injury claims and trial work related to those claims, "The majority of insurance companies vastly undersell cases for several reasons. One is because juries are very conservative and very suspicious of people bringing personal injury cases. Another is that insurance companies know that most personal injury lawyers won't try the case. So, if they know that they're not going to try the case and they're not going to spend the money to put the insurance company at risk of losing a big verdict, then why should they spend a lot of money to settle the case?"
Is your insurance company watching you?
We've all heard stories of insurance companies using surveillance techniques when investigating claims. But do they really watch you? According to Block, they do – and it's really unfair the way that they do it. He explained, "I've had several cases where insurance companies will hire a private investigator to follow around the plaintiff day after day after day, week after week and literally take hours of surveillance film – only to find a 30-second section where the person bends over and picks something up or lifts something over their head."
"They don't show the days and days of surveillance of the person walking down the street holding their back in pain. It can be very effective and devastating to a plaintiff's case for a jury to see video footage of somebody bending down and picking something up and looking like they're not having any problem with their back."
How much does your insurer know about you?
A lot. In fact, Block says that it is amazing the degree to which an insurance company will investigate a plaintiff. He told us, "They will look at divorce records. They will look at every medical record that person's had for the last ten years. They'll look at any other claims. They'll look at any other injuries. Basically, they will look to find any excuse that they can find to either not pay the plaintiff, portray the plaintiff as being dishonest or tie into that preconceived suspicion that juries seem to have about people in personal injury suits."
"So it's very important to tell the truth. You can't say anything that can even be taken out of context because insurance companies will take it out of context to try to make you look dishonest when, in fact, you're not."
If you’ve been injured due to the negligence of another, contact a Florida personal injury attorney to discuss your situation. The consultation is free, without obligation and strictly confidential. You can also complete FreeAdvice's case evaluation form and an experienced attorney will evaluate your case for free and at no further obligation.