This guest post is from our friends at Nelson Boyd, PLLC in Seattle, Washington.
Clients sometimes tell me that they feel like “the insurance company is picking on” them or that they don’t understand why the insurance company is “being so mean” and “putting me under a microscope.” After all, you did nothing wrong. Fair enough, but when was the last time you asked someone to give you money – that you felt you were entitled to, but that they absolutely refused to agree you were entitled to? How did that go over? Not so well, I bet.
Insurance companies are supposed to be in the business of paying legitimate claims. They sell someone an insurance policy, for a fee, and in exchange are supposed to pay a legitimate claim if one occurs during the time when the policy is in effect. Unfortunately, many injured people find that insurance companies only want to sell insurance policies and collect money. They don’t want to pay claims. They just want to keep the money for themselves (have you seen how much money insurance company executives are paid?!).
But what if you are really entitled to this money? What if you lost money – or had to spend money – because someone injured you and you weren’t at fault? After all, you are asking for something you deserve, right? True enough, but that doesn’t mean it will be easy.
When you make a claim, you are immediately suspect. Is your claim legitimate? Are you asking for “too much money?” Are you really entitled to what you seek? Juries are notoriously suspicious of people filing lawsuits and often assume that people who pursue claims are filing “frivolous lawsuits” and looking for “jackpot justice.” The cards are stacked against you. Insurance companies know this (after all, they are the ones pushing the media to report about the “avalanche of frivolous lawsuits”) and take advantage of it. They think that if they make the process of litigation so miserable, you will just go away and will stop asking them for money. Some people do go away, which just reinforces the insurance company’s bad behavior.
So, what can you do about it? First, realize the playing field you are on. You are asking for money from an industry that doesn’t want you to get anything. Accept that and move forward. Understand that as the person filing a claim, you are the one who has the responsibility to prove your claim with evidence. Just because you say you want something doesn’t mean that you will automatically receive it. It is difficult work to prove a claim. Recognize that the insurance company’s mean tactics are just an effort to make you go away. Most importantly, hire an attorney who is tenacious, tough, and experienced in dealing with insurance companies. Make sure that they are up to the fight and that they will guide you through the process and explain the steps as you go along. Filing a claim for injuries is a battle, but it isn’t a battle you should go through alone.