The Inside Scoop on How Insurance Companies Will Fight Your Personal Injury Claim

Insurance companies are businesses, not charities. Accordingly, their objective is not to fairly compensate injured victims. It’s to make a profit by maximizing monthly premiums and minimizing payouts. Insurance companies have developed dozens of ways to reduce or deny claims.

Tactics Insurance Companies Use To Undervalue and Deny Claims

Tactics Insurance Companies Use To Undervalue and Deny Claims

There is no complete list of insurance company delay and denial tactics. Following is a short list of tactics you’re likely to run into, at least if you don’t have a lawyer.

Accusing You of Shared Fault

Do insurance companies ever blame the victim? Yes, absolutely–in fact, it is standard practice. This tactic is especially common in Maryland because of the state’s draconian pure contributory negligence law.

Under pure contributory negligence, you could suffer catastrophic losses worth millions of dollars. But if you were even 1% at fault for the accident, your compensation will be zero. This rule applies to car accidents as well as other types of incidents and injuries.

Consequently, you can be sure that the other side will say that the accident was partly your fault. 

Making Lowball Offers

A lowball offer is an offer that is ridiculously low–10% of your claim’s true value, for example. Low offers are routine at the start of settlement negotiations. Your job is to recognize and avoid them.

Online Surveillance

If the value of your claim is significant, you should expect the insurance company to try to gain access to your social media accounts, such as Facebook or Instagram. Under many circumstances, an insurer can use your social media posts as evidence against you.

For example, that evidence might include a photo of you enjoying yourself at a party during a time you claimed to be seriously injured. It’s best to suspend your social media accounts altogether while your claim is pending.

Offline Surveillance

If you have a very large claim, know this: No, you’re not paranoid. If it seems like someone is following you, they very likely are. Insurance companies frequently use private detectives to spy on claimants.

Taking a Recorded Statement

Don’t ever agree to give the insurance company a recorded statement. They will ask you trick questions and then use your answers against you. Even answering “I’m fine” to “How are you doing today?” can be used against you.

The Bogus “Take It or Leave It” Offer

“This offer is valid until July 31. Take it or leave it before then.” The insurance company has no right to set an arbitrary deadline. It is the statute of limitations that sets the deadline, not the insurance company. 

The Maryland statute of limitations generally gives you three years from the date of an accident to file a lawsuit. Exceptions sometimes apply.

The “Pre-Existing Condition” Ruse

Suppose you hurt your back in a motorcycle accident, and you demand compensation. Also, suppose that the insurance company accesses your medical records and discovers a back injury caused by a horseback riding accident ten years ago. It will likely claim that your current back problems result from your old horseback riding accident, not your recent motorcycle crash.


We’ve all experienced stonewalling before. Yes, the adjuster is very polite, but nothing ever happens. That lowball offer won’t budge. Sometimes, it takes a lawsuit to get the ball rolling again.

Misrepresenting the Legalese in the Insurance Contract

Many insurance contracts are written in an obscure language called legalese. Since most claimants do not understand this language, you might rely on an insurance adjuster to translate it into plain English for you – bad idea. Leave that job to your lawyer.

Trivializing Your Non-Economic Damages

You are likely to qualify for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering and perhaps emotional distress. Insurance companies may try to dismiss this portion of your claim, especially if they know you don’t realize that courts frequently award non-economic damages far in excess of economic damages. A good lawyer will know how much to demand. 

Delaying Payment to Pressure You Into a Low Settlement

If the insurance adjuster senses that you are desperate or in financial need, they might try to take advantage of you. If you can’t pay your medical bills, for example, you might be willing to accept a low settlement so that you can get your money right away. It is better to discuss the matter with your lawyer, who might be able to negotiate a medical lien for you. That would give you some breathing room.

Requesting Unnecessary and Burdensome Documentation

It takes time to assemble documentation and to organize it into digestible form. The insurance adjuster might take advantage of this by making unreasonable documentation demands. 

This tactic is especially likely if the adjuster knows that you’re not really sure just how much documentation is “reasonable.”

Denying Your Claim Outright

One tactic that sometimes works for insurance companies is to deny your claim without a reason or for a silly reason and then hope you won’t follow up. Don’t let them pull this one on you. If you have a good attorney, they won’t even try to pull this one on you.

Frequently Changing the Identity of Your Insurance Adjuster

Frequently changing your insurance adjuster is just another way of giving you the runaround. Each new adjuster, of course, will need time to familiarize themselves with your case. Meanwhile, the statute of limitations clock is ticking in the background.  

Bad Faith Insurance Claims

You can expect some ethically questionable behavior from the insurance company. That’s normal, sad to say. Insurance companies abandon most of these tactics as soon as they realize you have hired an experienced personal injury lawyer.

If the insurance company goes too far in its bad behavior, you might qualify to file a bad faith claim against them. If you do, you will then have two claims–your original personal injury claim plus your bad faith claim. 

Your lawyer can help you gather evidence to support your new claim. You can demand both economic and non-economic damages in an insurance bad faith claim.

Why Hiring a Baltimore Personal Injury Lawyer Might Be Your Best Move When Dealing With an Insurance Company

If your Baltimore personal injury claim is reasonably large, you probably shouldn’t represent yourself. An experienced personal injury attorney at WGK Personal Injury Lawyers can avoid many of the “tricks” mentioned above simply because they won’t fall for them.

A lawyer might make the difference between victory and defeat, or they might make the difference between a small amount of compensation and a large amount. Baltimore insurance adjusters are skilled negotiators, but that’s no problem–so are experienced personal injury lawyers.

Don’t worry about whether you can afford to hire a lawyer. Since you only pay if you win, you can afford a lawyer as long as you have a strong claim. Contact us today at (410) 837-2144 to schedule a free consultation.