When you’ve been in a wreck that isn’t your fault, you have every reason to expect the other party’s insurance company to cover your losses.
On the other hand, you also need to expect the insurance company to do everything it can to cut its losses. No matter how friendly or sympathetic an insurance adjuster may seem, their entire job revolves around protecting the company’s assets – not paying claims fairly.
Shifting the liability
Broadly speaking, insurance company adjusters will usually try to shift the blame for either the wreck or any injuries back onto the victim as much as possible. That way, even when they cannot outright deny a claim, they can devalue it. Here are some of the most common tactics:
- They may accuse you of not properly maintaining your vehicle. Expect the insurance company to try to blame you for everything from unresolved recall repairs to worn or underinflated tires. They may scrutinize your vehicle’s repair records for brake issues, issues with your lights and steering problems, as well.
- You may be blamed for not wearing a seat belt. As of late 2020, all drivers and passengers in New York are required by law to buckle up when the car is in motion. If the other driver swears that you weren’t wearing your seatbelt when the accident happened, the insurance company may seize upon that to say that your injuries wouldn’t have occurred (or would have been greatly lessened) if you had obeyed the law.
- They may attack your credibility. It’s not uncommon for an insurance adjuster to resort to twisting an injury victim’s words to make it seem like they were guilty of distracted driving or weren’t even seriously injured and just looking for a payout.
What can you do to protect your interests? First, be conscious of the fact that you are under no obligation to give the other party’s insurance company a recorded statement – and you shouldn’t. In general, it’s always wisest to seek legal guidance and let someone else do the talking for you.