Filing a personal injury claim following an accident can be stressful for a number of reasons. Perhaps the person you are filing a claim against appears to have more resources at their disposal than you do, scaring you from the possibility of taking them to court. Or, perhaps the defendant’s insurance company has decided to take certain measures against you in an attempt to discourage or otherwise bully you into taking a smaller settlement than you are entitled to.
At Greathouse Trial Law, our experience has given us a particular insight on one particular detail of most personal injury claims—whether or not you will receive a larger (and more deserved) settlement may be entirely dependent on if you can beat the defendant’s insurance company at their own game. As cases we have represented have gone to trial, the following five items have consistently appeared to be the “secrets” or “insights” that insurance companies don’t want our clients to know about.
Whether these items give the plaintiff a notable advantage or simply demonstrate that the plaintiff knows more than the average claimant, being knowledgeable about your claim can help you receive the biggest settlement possible:
- Insurance companies don’t want you to hire an attorney. Insurance adjusters may try to paint attorneys as being “greedy” or “unnecessary,” but an experienced personal injury lawyer is often the best chance you have to receiving the largest settlement possible. In addition, simply having an attorney often raises the value of your claim due to the necessity to pay a retention fee—something insurance companies aren’t particular fond of.When filing a claim with a defendant’s insurance company, always ensure that your legal counsel comes from someone whose results give you confidence. Chances are, if they have had success in similar claims in the past, they will do everything they can to ensure that your case is a win as well.
- Insurance adjusters are not your friends. No matter how friendly an insurance adjuster may seem over the phone or through email correspondences, it is important to remember that they are representing a larger organization actively working against your best interests.The less money they have to pay you, the more money they are able to keep for themselves. Always keep this in mind, especially during negotiations—typically, whatever offer they put out immediately is always in their best interests, and seldom is in yours.
- Recorded statements and signed medical authorizations can work for you—or against you. When filing a claim, it may be necessary to submit recorded statements, as well as signed medical authorizations for treatment and records verification, to an insurance company in order to place a value on your claim. However, just as much as these can help you, they can also be used by insurance adjusters to lessen the overall value of your claim.Be very careful in making any type of statement that can be construed as an admission of guilt (either partially or fully) or underplaying your injuries. These statements can be seen as a just reason to deny you part or all of the compensation you deserve, and may be used accordingly by the defendant’s insurance company.
- Insurance adjusters may try to bait you to settle for less. An insurance adjuster may try to make false and/or outlandish statements in an attempt to get you to settle for less. Perhaps they said you cannot file a claim for a back injury because you had a back injury in the past. Or, maybe they attempt to deny compensation for emotional damages or lost wages.If you have a doubt as to what an insurance adjuster is saying is true or not, your best bet is to consult with your attorney before answering a call. It is better to be informed of possible tactics (and know how to appropriately respond to them) than to be bullied into settling for less than your claim is worth.
- Insurance adjusters aren’t just representatives—they’re trained negotiators. Similar to the above point, insurance adjusters are trained to negotiate in the favor of the insurance company they work for. With this in mind, you may often hear talk of a “final offer” or a time-sensitive development that must be addressed immediately to process your claim.As before, if you ever have any doubt about how to talk with an insurance adjuster, or are unsure of how much you may be able to recover from your claim, contact your attorney for more information.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
Filing an insurance claim can be a relief for some, who know that the person responsible for their injuries will finally be held accountable for their actions. Unfortunately, for others, it is often the start of a long and arduous process of negotiation, intrusive examinations by the insurance companies, and in some cases, will culminate in a trial date. This can lead to its own number of legal and financial headaches.
Greathouse Trial Law is committed to seeing that you and your loved ones recover any amount of deserved compensation for personal injuries or deaths sustained as a result of an accident. Even when insurance companies attempt to dissuade you from pursuing a claim for its full value, our expertise in personal injury law can help you receive the results and compensation you deserve. Contact us to schedule a free consultation session and begin the road to recovery today.