If you were injured because of the negligence of some other person, or business, you might be in the process of pursuing a personal injury insurance claim. You desire to obtain compensation for all of the losses you have sustained.
As you have tried to settle your claim with an insurance company, you may find yourself bewildered as to why the offer for compensation for your injuries is so small. You are not alone. Time and again, injured people like you find themselves in this same quandary.
Insurance Company is in Business for Profit!
Like many people who are in an accident, you may be under the perception that an insurance company primarily is in business to reasonably settle claims for injuries, damages, and losses. While that is a nice thought, the reality is that settling claims for compensation is not the primary reason an insurance company is in business.
As is the case of any other large corporation, an insurance company exists for one main reason. An insurance company is primarily in business to make money for its shareholders. The stark reality is that an insurance company increases its profits, and enhances the amount of money paid to shareholders, by decreasing the amount of money paid out in insurance claims.
The objective of an insurance company to decrease claim settlement and increase profits means that it will employ tactics and strategies that can result in it offering a small amount of money for your injury with the hopes you will accept it.
The Small Case Dilemma
If you are injured but not severely, you may be receiving a lowball offer because the economics of taking the case to trial just does not make sense for an attorney. This factors into the insurance companies offer in many claims where the injury is whiplash and property damage is minor.
The insurance company knows that the out-of-pocket costs for an attorney to handle this type of case probably exceeds the money that the attorney would reasonably expect to make on the case. In that situation, the injured person and the attorney lose the leverage that a trial gives them in more serious injury cases.
Inadvertently Locking Yourself into a Settlement Bind
If you have been injured in an accident arising from the negligence of another party, you likely will be contacted promptly by a representative of that individual’s insurance company. If you already filed a claim, you may have heard from a representative of the insurer.
A big mistake an injured person makes, which results in that individual receiving a lowball offer of compensation for injuries, is being too free in discussing an accident and injuries with an insurance company. Your best strategy is to forgo immediately discussing the accident and your injuries with an insurance company until you have at least taken the time to consult with a lawyer.
Time and again, people just like you answer questions put forth by an insurance company adjuster at a point in time before even the full extent of injuries are known. If you do this, you potentially can damage your claim and limit the amount of money you will be able to receive for your injuries.
If you are injured before you do anything further schedule an initial consultation with a qualified, experienced personal injury lawyer. A personal injury lawyer will meet with you to discuss your case at no cost to you.
Discussing the Claim Before the Extent of Your Injuries are Known
Another mistake that many personal injury victims make in talking to an adjuster early after the accident is cementing their injuries before the extent of the injuries are known.
Typically, a person will be injured in an accident and be taken by ambulance to an emergency room where they are treated. Contrary to popular belief, emergency rooms are for life-threatening situations. For injuries that are not deemed life-threatening, most of the time, the injured person is discharged with instructions to follow up with the appropriate physician.
Often, it is not until more sophisticated testing is done that the extent of an injury is known by the doctors and the victim. If you have stated your injuries before the extent of your injuries is known that can be a reason why you are being lowballed.
Attempting to Handle the Case Without a Lawyer
The most significant mistake that people make is to assume that they will be treated fairly without a lawyer. The insurance company does not want you to have a lawyer and often actively discourages you from hiring one.
They may say such things as “a lawyer will just take 40% of your money”, or words to that effect. In short, without a lawyer, you have no hammer or leverage for the insurance company to be fair. Because they know, that all you can do if they lowball you is find a lawyer and often, you have already done damage to your case.
Hiring the Wrong Lawyer
Another big mistake that people make is hiring the wrong attorney. Friends or family members may suggest someone who may or may not specialize in personal injury cases. Worse, you may be sent to a “mill” law firm that churns their cases by quick lowball settlements. If you feel like a number when you walk in the law firm, do not expect things to change once you have hired a lawyer.
In today’s digital age, insurance companies keep records of attorneys and their track record of successes. If you hire an attorney, who does not have a track record with the type of case that you have that’s one strike against them.
Do your homework before you sign any paperwork with an attorney. Once you have hired an attorney, you can voice fire that attorney, but you cannot stiff them for work that they had done on the file when they took a case on a contingency basis.