When a person calls or visits our office for assistance in their car accident and/or personal injury matter, they are typically coming from one of two perspectives. People either have an idea of what insurance companies are capable of, or they don’t. Especially after all of the hurricanes and floodings that New Orleans has experienced, a good portion of us know full well that an insurance company does not necessarily always have us covered when we need them to. Sadly, it isn’t uncommon for us to meet with people who have already learned this the hard way. Too often, normal, educated citizens are shocked by what an insurance corporation has been able to do to lessen or even shrug off liability altogether.
If a person is really, truly injured at the neglect or fault of another, and an insurance company is legally liable for that injury, they should not be able to maneuver out of paying the victim what he or she is owed.
1. Delay, delay, delay.
The statute of limitations for a personal injury case in Louisiana is usually one year after the incident. While this might seem like a long time, when you are treating for your condition and dealing with mitigating your damages, it can fly by faster than you realize. Insurance companies are well aware of this. After your injury, the insurance company’s agent may lead you to believe that a money settlement is imminent; that they just first need to “wrap up their investigation”, or that they’ll pay your bills once you’re “all healed up”. The longer they can stave you off, the better the chances are that the time limit will have lapsed. And they know that if that time limit has elapsed on your injury, you may not have any financial recovery at all.
Even if you aren’t quite at the statute of limitations following your injury, it still may harm your case tremendously if you wait to seek legal counsel. If you are going for medical treatments without consulting a Louisiana personal injury attorney first, you may be not be going to the best kind of medical specialist who can assist in establishing a strong case for you. Furthermore, if you get too close to the statute of limitations, you might not be able to find an attorney who can work your case into their schedule. Waiting to retain an attorney is more risk than it is worth. It’s best that you seek legal help as soon as you can following the accident or injury in question.
2. Hiring a Detective to Follow You Around.
Yes, really. In our last blog post, we talked about how a private investigator can help a divorce or child custody matter. Private investigators are used in personal injury cases, too, but often not to our clients’ benefit.
It is important to remember that insurance companies are corporations; it is likely that they will have the means to spend extra on ways to keep claimants from payouts. It’s not uncommon for an insurance company to hire a private investigator to follow around a claimant to see if they can obtain evidence to contradict the injury that the victim is citing.
For example, a private investigator can take footage of you lifting heavy things on the job, walking to the store, or dancing in a Mardi Gras parade, and introduce any of that in court before a judge or jury to attempt to discredit your injuries and, therefore, your claim. These attacks on a claimant’s credibility serve to keep the claimant as far away from compensation as possible.
3. Sending You to Their Own “Special” Doctor.
Insurance companies will quite often try to send you to their own, independently hired doctor.
The problem with this, of course, is that the doctor is being paid by the insurance company. This may be something the insurance company coordinates to provide a specific kind of diagnosis, prognosis, and/or report. Sometimes they call this an “independent medical examination”.
When an insurance company makes this recommendation, you should consider it a sign that something may not be right, and you should seek legal help as soon as possible.
If you are seeing some red flags in your own personal injury, car accident, truck-car collision, motorcycle collision, bicycle accident, or premises liability legal matter, seek the help of an experienced and tenacious attorney as soon as possible.