A San Diego Car Accident Lawyer Discusses Red Flags Signaling the At-Fault Driver's Insurance Company Is Delaying Reaching a Settlement of Your California Car Accident Claim

When filing a claim for your injuries in a California car accident, you may suspect that the negligent driver's insurance company is dragging its feet about settling your compensation claim. Unfortunately, your suspicions may be true. The insurance company could be delaying settlement of your insurance claim, even if you have a solid case.

If you are in this situation, you should not try to go it alone. You need the help of an experienced San Diego car accident lawyer at The Law Offices of Mark C. Blane, APC. I can safeguard your rights, expedite filing your insurance claim, and advocate for the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

If you are a car accident victim in California, you may initially expect the negligent driver's insurance company to treat you fairly and promptly compensate you for your injuries and damages. Unfortunately, the reality can be quite different. You need to know the warning signs that your car crash insurance claim might be deliberately delayed and why seeking a skilled car accident attorney is crucial.

Why the Insurance Company Might Drag Out Settling Your California Car Accident Claim

Insurance companies often employ tactics to prolong the settlement process for car accident claims. Understanding these strategies can help you avoid falling for them or making mistakes that could weaken your case. Here are some common reasons they might try to drag out settling your claim:

  • Insurance companies are a business. Auto insurance companies are profit-driven entities whose goal is to make money. They may delay settling your claim to minimize their financial losses.
  • The insurance company wants to wear you down. Dealing with the aftermath of your car accident can be physically, emotionally, and financially draining. Insurance companies know this and may intentionally prolong the claims process to wear you down, making it more likely that you will stop pursuing your claim or settle it for much less than you deserve.
  • The insurance company hopes the statute of limitations will expire. Under California Code of Civil Procedure Section 335.1, the deadline to sue in California, also called the statute of limitations, for car collision claims is generally two years from the date of the accident. The insurance company may delay negotiations, hoping the statute of limitations will expire. If you fail to file your lawsuit within this time period, you will most likely be barred from litigating your claim.

Warning Signs Your San Diego Car Accident Claim is Being Delayed

If you suffered injuries in a car accident, settling your claim with the at-fault motorists' insurance company can be a confusing process. The insurance adjuster may call you within days of the collision—even before you are released from the hospital. 

They may act sympathetic and speak like they are your friend, but you must remember that they work for the insurance company. They could intentionally delay settling your claim with numerous tactics. You may not even realize what the insurance company is doing because some of their requests could initially sound reasonable. 

Retaining an experienced San Diego car accident lawyer is vital. My legal team and I have helped many car crash victims settle their claims, and we can spot the warning signs that an insurance adjuster is dragging out settlement negotiations. I also have strategies to combat their delay tactics. 

Here are some warning signs I recommend you watch for:

Excessive Requests for Documents 

It could be a red flag if the insurance company repeatedly asks for unnecessary documentation or requests documents one at a time. While some paperwork is standard in the claims process, excessive requests for the same information or irrelevant documents might indicate an intentional delay tactic. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you evaluate these requests and ensure you provide only what is required.

Delays in Communication

If the insurance company consistently takes an unusually long time to respond to you or ignores your inquiries, messages, or updates on your case, it could be a sign of an intentional delay. You should hire a knowledgeable San Diego car accident lawyer immediately if you feel your attempts at communication are being purposefully ignored or the insurance adjuster takes too long to respond.

Delayed Investigation of Your Claim

A prompt investigation into the cause of the car accident and the damages you are entitled to under California law is crucial for a fair settlement. If the insurance company delays determining the cause of the crash or scheduling inspections, evaluations, or estimates of the damages to your vehicle, medical expenses, or wage losses, they might be intentionally dragging out the process. A skilled San Diego car accident attorney can help expedite these assessments and ensure your claim is settled within a reasonable time frame. 

Unreasonable Settlement Offers 

Beware of quick settlement offers that seem too good to be true. The insurance companies might make you low-ball settlement offers early in the process to exploit your vulnerability and try to get you to accept far less money than you deserve. You should never settle a car accident insurance claim without consulting a personal injury lawyer first.

Other Common Tactics Insurance Companies Could Use to Deny or Reduce Your Claim

Besides trying to drag out settling your claim, the negligent driver's insurance company could also employ various tactics to deny or reduce the amount of compensation to which you are entitled. They do this for the same reasoning behind dragging out the settlement process: to save the company money. Here are some frequent strategies I have seen them use:

  • Disputing liability. The insurance adjuster may attempt to dispute liability for the car accident or claim that you were partially to blame for causing it. An experienced car accident lawyer can evaluate their disputes and gather evidence to support your claim and refute their arguments.
  • Downplaying your injuries. Another tactic the insurance company could employ is to dispute that your injuries were caused in the car accident or argue that your injuries are not as severe as you claim. Your personal injury attorney can help you collect your medical records and hire a medical expert witness to show that their arguments are invalid.
  • Misrepresenting insurance policy language. Insurance policies can be complex documents, and insurance companies may try to misinterpret or misrepresent policy language to deny coverage or limit payouts. You should have a dedicated car accident lawyer review the negligent driver's policy to ensure you are not being taken advantage of by their insurance company.
  • Asking for a recorded statement. The insurance adjuster may ask you to give a recorded statement after the auto crash. They want you to agree to give one so they can look for information they can use to deny your claim or try to pay you less money. Even if you have nothing to hide, you could say something that can be used against you later to undermine your claim. It is important to consult an attorney before providing any recorded statements to the insurance company.
  • Requiring you to sign a medical release. The insurance company may want you to sign a medical release form allowing them access to all of your medical records. You should not agree to this request. They may use this information to search for preexisting conditions or other factors to devalue your claim. You should retain a lawyer before signing this document to ensure that you only provide the insurance adjuster with the documents they truly need to settle your claim.
  • Telling you not to hire an attorney. Do not be surprised if the insurance adjuster tries to discourage you from seeking legal representation, claiming that it will only complicate the process or result in you receiving less compensation. This is a widespread insurance tactic. However, having an experienced car accident attorney advocate for you can significantly increase your likelihood of recovering the damages you are entitled to for your injuries and other losses.
If you see these red flags that an insurance company is trying to delay your compensation, don’t wait—call us today so we can help you determine what is going on and how to move forward so you receive the compensation you deserve.
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