Most Common Insurance Company Excuses & Tactics After Car WrecksJune 7, 2023
Recovering compensation after a car crash usually means dealing with insurance companies, filing a claim, and proving fault for the wreck. Whether your own auto insurance provider or another motorist’s insurer is involved, the more you understand about insurance companies and how to deal with them, the better.
That’s because insurers handling auto accident claims are not on victims’ sides after a crash. In fact, these companies are NOT looking to serve justice, and they do not care about prioritizing what’s right, fair, or just when resolving crash claims.
Instead, it’s crucial to realize and remember that:
- Protecting company profits tends to be insurers’ primary goal.
- Insurance adjusters can use various excuses to try to avoid paying victims’ claims.
- Unsuspecting victims who mistakenly believe insurers are on their side could be taken advantage of in the claims process, subject to unfair reductions or wrongful claim denials if they don’t know how to push back.
You can take action to fight back, protect your rights, and preserve the value and strength of your claim if you know the excuses and traps insurers commonly use with car accident claims.
10 Insurer Excuses to Reduce or Deny Car Accident Claims
As you file a car accident claim and after, you’ll work with the insurance company to provide certain information needed to investigate and process the claim. During these interactions and through the claims process, beware of the following excuses that insurance companies may use to try to avoid making a payment.
If you know how these excuses are typically framed and when they tend to arise in the claims process, it can be much easier to defuse and overcome them.
Excuse #1. The victim is at fault.
Victim blaming means attributing some or all of the fault for an auto accident to the injured party even if that party did not actually cause the wreck at all. This insurance company excuse can come up when a victim has:
- Apologized after a crash: If an injured party says “sorry” to any other party involved in the motor vehicle crash, the insurance company could use that statement to argue that the victim knew (s)he was at fault and, therefore, apologized.
- Mistakenly admitted fault: Victims may accidentally accept blame for accidents right after crashes occur when they simply don’t know enough about what happened, their role, and what others may have done to cause the wreck. Regardless of whether it’s confusion, shock, or physical injuries behind these accidental admissions, they can be used against victims to blame them for a collision.
With this tactic, it’s also not uncommon for insurance companies to:
- Skew the facts.
- Cherry-pick evidence to support their version of the events.
- Use questionable “experts” to back up their version of the story.
Excuse #2. Police weren’t called after the crash.
If no one calls police after a wreck to report it to authorities, then:
- Police will not typically respond to the scene to provide immediate help.
- Police will likely not conduct their own investigation into the auto accident.
- There will generally not be an official police report for that crash.
Without an official police investigation or report for an auto accident, insurance companies may have room to challenge a claim, using excuses like these:
- Your coverage includes a term that requires you to call the police after a crash. If you didn’t do that, your coverage could be limited, or it may not apply.
- Without a police report, there’s not as much evidence to clear you of fault or to definitively attribute liability to another party. Therefore, you may be partially or totally blamed for the wreck.
Excuse #3. The crash didn’t cause the injuries.
Just because victims are hurt does not mean that insurance companies will agree that the collision caused that trauma.
In fact, insurance companies may try to point to anything else, like pre-existing injuries from an incident that pre-dated the traffic collision. To do that, insurance companies may look into victims’ medical records, work records, and/or other insurance claims, attempting to find whatever they can use to shift liability.
Generally, this insurance excuse is more likely to arise when:
- Victims don’t receive or refused to get medical care at the scene of an accident.
- There are any delays or gaps in medical treatment after leaving the scene.
- Victims don’t comply with doctors’ orders regarding activity restrictions or prescribed care.
Excuse #4. The injuries and losses are minimal.
Even if a victim has been seriously injured, some insurance companies may try to argue that the trauma isn’t as severe as the claim suggests. They may allege that victims are embellishing, exaggerating, or overstating the physical harm sustained.
That may seem ludicrous when there are medical records and documented diagnoses to reference. However, it can happen when factors like (but not limited to) the following are involved:
- The injuries have latent symptoms that take time to arise or fully present themselves.
- Multiple doctors provide conflicting diagnoses.
- There are gaps and/or delays in medical treatment.
- There were severe pre-existing injuries.
Despite this excuse and what insurance companies may try to assert, there can be ways to establish the full severity and extent of physical trauma, as well as the related psychological impacts and losses.
Excuse #5. The victim said (s)he wasn’t hurt.
The victim didn’t complain about injuries or seek medical attention after the accident, insurance companies may argue. Alternatively, they may point to victims’ statements, alleging that victims said they weren’t hurt in the crash. Either way, this insurance excuse can be setting up the framework to deny or reduce a claim.
Still, it’s important to recognize that the shock of an accident can mask the pain and symptoms of some injuries. Additionally, some victims may misspeak after a wreck, despite having the best intentions. That’s why it’s so crucial to:
- Question insurance companies and don’t automatically accept their “findings” as accurate, fair, or just.
- See a doctor, follow through with all medical care, and abide by all doctors’ restrictions regarding activity limitations.
- Talk to an attorney, especially if insurance companies are trying to flip the script on you, gaslight you, or disregard your injuries.
Excuse #6. There have been gaps in medical treatments.
Gaps in medical treatment can give insurance companies leverage to argue that:
- Your injuries must have been more minor: If you were badly injured, you would’ve sought out more care, insurers may allege.
- You made your injuries worse: By not getting the care you allegedly needed, you didn’t do anything or enough to prevent worsening symptoms or mitigate the progression of the condition. Consequently, you’re partly to blame for it, and you may not be eligible for as much compensation, insurers may try to argue.
Keep in mind that insurance companies may try to use these excuses even if you have legitimate reasons for gaps in your medical treatment. So, be ready for them if you missed doctors’ appointments, you skipped surgery, or you didn’t undergo certain prescribed treatments.
Excuse #7. The victim violated doctors’ orders.
If physicians or any medical professionals have provided guidance on when to return to work, what activities to avoid, and what treatments to pursue, failing to comply with those can be another point of leverage for insurance companies.
As with gaps in treatment, failing to comply with doctors’ orders can give insurers room to challenge the injuries and potentially allege that:
- There are no injuries. They were made up to try to get more money with a claim.
- The limited or minor injuries were overstated.
Excuse #8. The victim gave conflicting statements.
Victims may give statements to police and/or other parties at the accident scene, multiple insurance companies, doctors, and others — and any of these statements could cause problems for victims later if:
- The statements aren’t the same: Inconsistent statements can raise questions of credibility. That can give insurance companies room to question everything victims have told them, even facts that can be backed up with clear evidence.
- The statements conflict with the evidence: If victims insist on some detail that’s clearly debunked by the available evidence, credibility issues may not be the only problem victims face. They could also have greater chances of being blamed for the accident.
Excuse #9. The victim didn’t report the accident to the insurer.
Many auto insurance providers require policyholders to report accidents within a specific timeframe, like 24 to 72 hours after a wreck. If required:
- This reporting will be specified in a term of an auto insurance policy, detailing the reporting deadlines and the consequences of failing to report wrecks.
- Reporting a crash can be an obligation, regardless of who may be at fault.
Consequently, victims who miss this reporting deadline could encounter this excuse when they file a claim. If they do, reviewing the policy language can be crucial to uncovering the best options for moving forward.
Excuse #10. The crash isn’t covered.
Some crashes are relatively straightforward affairs, with known parties and clear liability. That can be the case, for example, in a simple rear-end collision when the rear motorist is 100% at fault.
In more complicated situations, however, there can be more grey areas that insurance companies may use and interpret in their favor. That can occur with accidents and claims involving factors like (but not limited to):
- Hit and runs, with one party totally unknown or never found
- Multiple vehicle crashes, with several parties potentially sharing fault
- Post-claim underwriting, which involves the illegal practice of altering policies after claims have been filed against them
- Uninformed claimants who don’t know what type of coverage they really have, how Texas laws protect them, and how to protect themselves when dealing with insurance companies.
Don’t Buy These Insurance Excuses: Protect Your Rights & Claim
With car accident claims and insurance excuses, the bottom line is that insurers have LOTS of ways of trying to limit payouts, minimize claims, and dodge liability. While these 10 excuses are common, insurance companies are finding new ways to protect their bottom line every day — and that often comes at the cost of victims who are just trying to recover from devastating traffic collisions.
As nail-biting as that may be, it’s not all bad news, and victims can take action to:
- Challenge insurance company excuses.
- Avoid opening up new opportunities for insurers to undercut or deny their claims.
- Advance their claims toward the best possible resolution.
One step that can go a long way toward helping victims secure the justice and outcomes they deserve is consulting with an experienced car accident lawyer. That can connect you with the advice, answers, and guidance you need to take the right steps and make better choices about a potential claim going forward.