In my over 30 years of practicing as a personal injury attorney in Houston, Texas, one of the single most significant mistakes that I see personal injury victims make is expecting the adjuster to be fair and reasonable on their claim.
Insurance companies in Texas are primarily for-profit companies and not appropriately regulated in claims handling. Worse, recent court opinions have limited attorneys’ abilities to hold the insurers accountable for hardball or bad faith tactics.
Insurance Companies Will Always Seek to Pay as Little as Possible
Adverse insurance companies are not out to pay full and fair restitution for injuries sustained in an accident. Adverse insurance companies seek to spend as little money as possible to settle a claim for personal injury.
Adjusters go to classes to dispute claims and are taught negotiation tactics as part of their job. If you expect to receive a fair offer for an injury caused by their insured without a qualified lawyer, you will be disappointed.
If you were hit by a drunk driver, speaking with a Houston accident lawyer before the adjuster is always advised.
Accepting Responsibility does Not Mean a Fair Offer
The misconception generally occurs when the victim first has contact with the insurance company and is told by an adjuster that their insured was responsible for the accident or words to that effect.
Those words mean that the insurance company will offer a reasonable and prompt settlement proposal to the unsuspecting consumer. Unfortunately, that could not be further from reality.
In some instances, adjusters will discourage hiring an attorney, which usually occurs when the injuries are very severe and a significant liability policy exists.
It does not take a rocket scientist to understand why an adverse insurance company may not want a seriously injured person to hire an injury attorney.
If you are handling your case yourself, here are the secrets of negotiation for personal injury victims.
Your Odds Go Down Without A Lawyer
Any belief that the insurance company will treat an individual without a lawyer the same as one with a reputable attorney stands on shaky ground.
Frequently, even with an attorney, the only time an insurance company gets serious about fair compensation is when a jury is sitting in the box or a trial is imminent. In some cases, it takes a judge or jury to make the determination. If you have questions about accepting a settlement offer, read this article.
Studies have shown those represented by quality attorneys net more money than those who choose to represent themselves.
When You Know You Need an Attorney
When attempting to handle a claim on their own, it is usually only after the adjuster first makes an offer of settlement that a personal injury victim realizes that they really need an attorney to help them with the process.
The real problem with this approach is that the insurance company has controlled the process with this person since day one and probably has done what is necessary to help defend the case at the expense of the victim’s claim.
There are some things the insurance company does not want you to know. The main one, is you are in a much better position to get a fair settlement with a reputable attorney.
Usually, only after receiving a lowball offer do many understand the adjuster never intended to be fair.
The more serious the injury the more likely a personal injury victim will need the assistance of the best personal injury attorney they can find.
It is usually advantageous to obtain an attorney in the location where the accident occurred as opposed to one who lives out of state or far away from the County of the occurrence.
Get a Free Consultation with a Houston Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in an accident in Houston, Texas, Call the leading Houston personal injury lawyers at Baumgartner Law Firm for a no-obligation consultation regarding your rights and options.