We understand how tempting that check may look. Car accident injuries can require extensive medical treatment. Bills for hospitalization, surgeries, and ongoing care can add up quickly. They can quickly strain your finances, especially if your injuries keep you from working.
An offer from the insurance company at such an overwhelming time may seem like a godsend. But we recommend you only accept a settlement after consulting a lawyer.
You may not fully grasp how an accident injury can affect you and your family, not just now but in the future. You deserve compensation for all your damages. And the insurance company may offer less than you are entitled to. A quick settlement offer shortly after a collision may not cover your past, present, and future accident-related expenses.
Most personal injury law firms, including Berry Law, offer a free initial consultation. When you meet with a car accident lawyer, they can review your case, calculate your damages, and explain your options for financial recovery.
Here’s What You Should Know About Insurance Companies
Insurance companies are profit-based businesses that want to keep a healthy bottom line. They do that by putting their interests above injured parties.
Here are some tactics insurers use and why you should focus on your recovery and let an attorney deal with the insurance company instead.
They’re Quick to Make a Settlement Offer
Insurance adjusters know how an accident can overwhelm you and how vulnerable families can feel afterward. They also know that if they quickly make you a settlement offer, you may not yet realize the full range of the injuries and how they can affect your life and the lives of your family.
They’ll Try to Use Your Words Against You
Insurance companies often ask people injured in a car accident to give a recorded statement or sign documentation about their accident. They may ask about the events leading up to the crash and what they think caused it. Leave these discussions up to your lawyer.
Insurers may try to get you to admit fault. The insurance company may use anything you say against you to lessen the value of your claim. Let your attorney handle discussions with the insurance company instead.
They’ll Downplay Your Accident Injuries
The more serious your injuries, the more ways your injuries can affect your life, and, as a result, the more damages you can claim and compensation you may obtain.
The insurance company may downplay the severity of your injuries, say you don’t need treatments and argue that you don’t deserve all the damages you claim. Your lawyer can provide evidence to support your demand and counter their baseless accusations.
They’ll Delay Processing Your Claim
Insurance companies may also delay processing your claim.
Every day that goes by, the more bills you incur. The insurance company may hope that as you become more desperate, you’ll eventually take any amount of money to settle your claim. Some people become so frustrated they simply give up fighting.
This isn’t a fight you must have when dealing with physical pain and suffering. Let your attorney fight for you.
They’ll Use Bad Faith Insurance Practices
A car insurance policy is a contract between the insured and the insurance company. Both you and the insurance company must treat each other honestly, fairly, and in good faith.
That means a person agrees to pay your insurance premium for coverage after an accident. In return, the company agrees to pay for the covered costs associated with the accident.
An insurance adjuster acts in bad faith when they deny a claim without reason, fail to adequately investigate your accident, delay payment of a valid claim, threaten you, or try to bully you into accepting an offer. Your lawyer can hold the insurance company accountable if they try to pull one of these maneuvers.
How Can a Lawyer Help with My Car Accident Claim?
Insurance adjusters are trained to put their company’s profits ahead of the needs of injured persons. But car accident lawyers know a thing or two because they’ve seen a thing or two.
For every tactic the insurance company employs, an experienced car accident lawyer knows how to counter it in their pursuit of justice for their clients.
Here are some ways a lawyer can help claimants with their car accident cases:
Your lawyer will start by gathering all relevant information about the accident, including police reports, medical records, witness statements, and other evidence supporting your claim. This information establishes the facts of the case.
You must establish fault for the accident. If the other driver disputes liability, your lawyer must present evidence to support your version of events.
Your lawyer will calculate your damages. This includes medical expenses, property damage, lost income, pain and suffering, and any future costs related to the accident. This assessment helps determine the value of your claim.
Your lawyer will contact the insurance company to initiate negotiations. They will send a demand letter outlining the facts of the case, the damages suffered, and the compensation you seek. This letter serves as the starting point for negotiations.
Evaluate the Initial Offer
Insurance companies often make low initial settlement offers. Your lawyer will carefully review and compare the offer to the damages suffered. They will negotiate a higher settlement if the offer won’t cover your losses.
Provide Supporting Evidence
Your lawyer will present evidence to support your claim. This may include medical records, photographs, witness statements, and expert opinions.
Negotiations typically involve a series of demands and counteroffers. Your lawyer will negotiate on your behalf, seeking a reasonable settlement. This may involve discussing liability, the extent of damages, and potential future expenses.
File a Lawsuit
If negotiations fail to yield a satisfactory settlement, your lawyer may advise you to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party and their insurance company. Litigation can lead to a court trial, but often it prompts the insurance company to make a more reasonable settlement offer to avoid going to court.
If the case goes to trial, your lawyer will prepare your case by gathering additional evidence, deposing witnesses, and developing legal arguments.
Negotiate During Trial
Even during a trial, negotiations can continue. Insurance companies may settle as the trial progresses, especially if the evidence presented favors the plaintiff.
If you reach an agreement, your lawyer will finalize the settlement terms, including a release of liability and payment arrangements.
Berry Law’s Team Provides You With Multiple Attorney Perspectives
Contact a Lawyer for Your Car Accident Claim
When a car accident injures someone, the injured person and their family members can suffer emotional, psychological, and financial effects, as well as physical ones. You may feel tempted to accept a first offer of a car accident settlement. But the insurance company’s offer may not cover all your damages.
Don’t take less than you deserve. During a free consultation, a personal injury lawyer from Berry Law can review the details of your accident and give you a more accurate assessment of your case. Contact us today, and we promise to provide you with the same quality legal representation we’ve given clients since 1965.