At some point, when a child has been injured by a negligent third party, the parents will have to deal with the insurance company through a person known as a claims adjustor. Apart from this aspect, parents will need to address questions of damages and liability, including, but not limited to, payment for medical expenses (both future and past), and any other special damages surrounding the child. At times, this task can be very exhausting and time consuming. Both parents are usually dealing with the added stress of their child being injured, the child’s injuries, and his or her medical progress. The claims adjustors who work for insurance companies are trained professionals who can, at times, take advantage of the situation in order to get the child’s injury claim resolved for as low a monetary value as possible.
Many insurance company claims adjustors have great voices, and they talk to you in a very respectful and soothing way in an attempt to gain your trust and draw information from you about your personal injury claim. This nice person approach is oftentimes an attempt by them to gather informal comments and take them out of context to build a case against your child’s injury claim. Remember, because you are the parent they will be talking to you and your injured child. I have had conversations with insurance claims adjustors—who were speaking to one of the parents of my injured child client—tell me prior to my retention that they believed my injured child client was not injured too badly because the father of the injured child client recently told him his son returned to school on a given day. This conclusion was drawn by the claims adjustor without looking at one single piece of medical evidence! When this occurs, I always have to work harder to build the foundation for the injuries as they really are so the insurance company will fairly set the settlement reserves on an injury case.
An insurance claims adjustor may ask you if they can tape record your child’s recollection of the accident so they can expedite payment of your child’s injury claim. However, the insurance company representative's job is always the same: to save the company money by minimizing payment (settlement value) to your injured child. Often times, as I previously noted, the most casual comment you make to an insurance company claims adjustor can reduce your child’s injury compensation. It is important to keep in mind that the idea of "off the record" does not exist with insurance companies. Something as simple as a polite response—"not too bad"—to a claims adjustor’s question to your injured child—"How are you feeling today?"—can turn up as evidence in your child’s injury case.
Insurance companies deny, delay, defend, or underpay injury claims all the time. The insurance company claims adjustor’s goal, often, is to find a way to show that their client (insured) was either not at fault or, at a minimum, at fault. If that is not possible in a given injury claim, the claims adjustor will attempt to move heaven and earth to prove that your injured child sustained no damages or limit damages. They may even try to intimidate or confuse you, so that you unwittingly release valid injury claims and waive your legal right to pursue additional compensation. Briefly stated, they will do everything in their power to pay as little as possible on your child injury claim because that is what a business does: a business tries to make a profit, and the insurance companies are big business with big profits to protect. Also, like a business, they do not want to pay out full value on a given injury claim unless they are forced to pay out full value, plain and simple.
Mark C. Blane is a San Diego Child Injury/Accident Attorney and the managing lawyer of the Law Offices of Mark C. Blane, a San Diego, California Personal Injury Law Office dedicated to representing families of minor children injured due to the negligence of others. If you or a loved one, who is a minor child, has been injured or killed in a child accident in San Diego, please order your free copy of Mr. Blane's book, The 10 Secrets You Need To Know About Your Injury Case, BEFORE You Call A Lawyer. It is full of helpful information that will help you protect your legal rights and it normally sells for $16.95. However, it is free to all California residents, or those injured in a California accident. Also, you can check out Mr. Blane's book on California child injuries called Justice for the Injured Child available for sale; this book has become a California parent's legal survival guide to their child's California accident case.