Despite the language that they use in their television and radio advertisements, insurance companies are not on your side advocating for you if you suffer injuries in a car crash. First and foremost, the insurance company is a business, and just like any other business, they want to make as much money as possible. Insurance companies lose money when they have to pay out large settlements and personal injury jury verdicts. Therefore, they will do everything they can to undermine your case and offer you as little monetary compensation as possible to settle.
When an insurance company gets away with undervaluing a case and paying out a small settlement, they save themselves a significant amount of money that they can keep in house and distribute to their shareholders. In short, an insurance company will not offer you the full and fair compensation that you deserve for your injuries if you do not have experienced legal representation in your corner.
After suffering injuries in a car crash that resulted from negligence, retain a knowledgeable car accident lawyer to represent you. Your lawyer can assist you with setting up your personal injury claim and fight for your right to get the compensation you deserve from the insurance company.
Your lawyer can also assist you through settlement negotiations and, if necessary, with filing a lawsuit in your case. Your lawyer will do everything possible to help you maximize your damages and recover the full amount of compensation you deserve.
Lies that Insurance Companies and Their Lawyers Often Tell
To undermine a personal injury case and award as little monetary compensation as possible to an accident victim, insurance companies and the lawyers who represent them will often resort to misleading statements and outright lies. Some of the most common misrepresentations that you should be on the lookout for include:
Statements That the Insurance Company Is on Your Side and Advocating for You
In many instances, insurance companies and their lawyers will try to convince you they are on your side and advocating for your best interests. This cannot be true since the insurance company is trying to profit. Therefore, their main loyalty is to their bottom line and not your fair compensation. It’s a full-fledged conflict of interest. Insurance company lawyers and adjusters may even tell you that a personal injury lawyer is a “shark” who is trying to obtain a big paycheck off your case.
However, nothing can be further from the truth, as most personal injury lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis. The lawyer does not recover a fee unless you recover monetary compensation through a settlement, favourable jury verdict, or favourable arbitration award in your case.
A Statement That if You Reject the Settlement Offer, You Will Not Recover Anything in the Case
Some insurance companies and their lawyers will even resort to scare tactics to try and get you to settle your personal injury case in a hurry. For example, they might tell you that if you do not accept a pending offer from the insurance company, you will not likely recover monetary compensation in your case. Insurance company representatives use this tactic because they understand that you were hurt and are vulnerable after your collision.
However, initial offers from insurance companies are almost always low and far below the actual settlement value of your case. It takes a knowledgeable car accident lawyer on your side to forcefully negotiate with the insurance company and aggressively pursue the compensation that you deserve.
No matter what the insurance company tells you, there is almost always more money on the table. In addition, you might be better off taking your case to a jury trial or binding arbitration proceeding if the insurance company simply won’t offer you the damages you deserve for your injuries.
Telling You that You Need to Provide a Recorded Statement
Many insurance adjusters and insurance company lawyers try to convince accident victims to provide a recorded statement to recover monetary compensation in their case. However, that is simply not true.
There is no legal requirement on the books that a car accident victim must provide a recorded statement to their insurance company—or the at-fault driver’s insurance company. The main reason for a recorded statement is to try and see if the accident victim will say something damaging to their case. This might create a loophole for the insurance company to deny fault or liability for the accident.
An insurance company representative can misconstrue anything that you say during a recorded statement to their advantage. Therefore, you should never agree to provide a recorded statement following your car accident unless you have a knowledgeable car accident lawyer on the phone with you. If you have a lawyer present on the phone, they can object to any questions the insurance company adjuster or lawyer asks about irrelevant information. This helps preserve your legal rights and ensure that you get the full and fair compensation you deserve for all of your accident-related injuries.
A Statement that They Will Get You the Maximum Amount of Compensation for Your Accident Claim
Insurance companies, their lawyers, and their adjusters will sometimes say they can get you the maximum compensation for your case. However, insurance companies and lawyers only make these empty promises in an attempt to get you to trust them. You should not assume that the insurance company or their lawyer has your best interests at heart.
Rather, rely on your lawyer for a recommendation about whether to accept a particular settlement offer or litigate your case in the court system. You should keep in mind that even if your lawyer files a lawsuit on your behalf, that does not necessarily mean that your case will go all the way to a jury trial or arbitration proceeding. In fact, your lawyer can continue the settlement negotiation process even after they file a lawsuit in court on your behalf.
That Your Current Injury Complaints Stem From a Pre-existing Accident or Injury
Insurance company adjusters and lawyers frequently get hung up on pre-existing medical conditions and injuries. They seem to think that if a person suffered a prior injury or illness, then that prior condition is the source of the person’s current complaints.
For example, an insurance company lawyer might argue that if an accident victim complains of neck pain from a recent car accident, and they injured their neck in a slip and fall 10 years ago, their current symptoms exist because of the prior neck injury—not the recent car accident.
However, many insurance company lawyers will not tell you that a car accident, especially a serious accident that involves a forceful impact, can exacerbate a pre-existing injury or illness, making an accident victim’s pain and symptoms much worse. Before taking the insurance company adjuster or lawyer’s word, your lawyer can send you for a permanency evaluation to find out the true source of your current complaints.
That Your Current Injury Resulted From Degenerative Changes
As with prior injuries and illnesses, insurance company adjusters and their lawyers will typically frown upon degenerative findings that appear on X-rays and MRIs.
They will then claim that these pre-existing changes that come with age caused an accident victim’s current symptoms rather than a recent car accident. However, as with pre-existing injuries, a car accident can exacerbate a degenerative change (such as degenerative disc disease), making it painful and symptomatic
Filing a Personal Injury Claim With the Insurance Company
Victims of car accidents who suffer injuries can file a personal injury claim with an insurance company. The accident victim will file their claim with the insurance company for the at-fault driver in most instances. However, in some cases, the accident victim may need to file a first-party claim with their own insurance company, such as where the at-fault driver did not have any insurance or in cases where that driver was underinsured.
When filing a car accident claim, the accident victim’s lawyer will gather and submit the necessary documents as part of a settlement demand package. In addition to a demand letter that makes a monetary demand for settlement, the demand package will include copies of the accident victim’s medical records, lost wage statements, police reports, investigation reports, and victim impact statements.
Once the insurance company adjuster reviews this information, they might make an opening settlement offer on the case. A car accident lawyer can negotiate on your behalf and fight for your legal right to obtain the full compensation that you deserve. If the insurance company refuses to offer you fair compensation after several rounds of negotiations, your lawyer can then file a lawsuit in the court system.
Once the litigation process is complete, the parties can take the case to a jury trial or consider an alternative dispute resolution proceeding if the case is still unresolved. At a jury trial, the jury will decide the outcome of all issues that are in dispute at that time, such as liability and damages. At a binding arbitration proceeding, which is an alternative dispute resolution hearing, a neutral arbitrator will listen to the evidence and determine the damages to award the accident victim plaintiff.
Pursuing Personal Injury Damages through Settlement or Litigation
An accident victim can recover several categories of damages as part of their car collision claim. First of all, the accident victim can pursue compensation for their lost earnings and other out-of-pocket costs due to their car accident injuries.
They can seek various non-economic damages, including compensation for their inconvenience, mental distress, pain and suffering, and permanent disability. Finally, they can bring a claim for loss of the ability to use a body part, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of spousal companionship and support.
In cases where a car accident occurs because of an at-fault driver’s particularly reckless or egregious act, such as where the at-fault driver was operating their vehicle while intoxicated, that accident victim can pursue punitive damages in the case. Punitive damages punish the at-fault driver and discourage other drivers from committing similar wrongful acts.
A skilled car accident lawyer near you can tell you which of these damages you might be eligible to pursue. Your lawyer can then advocate for your legal interests and work to get you the maximum amount of compensation available to you in your case.
Contact a Skilled Car Accident Lawyer in Your Area About Your Legal Matter Today
Suppose you have suffered one or more injuries in a car accident that resulted from another driver’s carelessness, recklessness, or negligence. In that case, always remember that you have legal options available to you and how you wish to proceed is your decision to make. Never let anyone pressure you to decide a certain way.
Having a knowledgeable car accident lawyer on your side is one of the most critical steps that you can take following your accident. A lawyer can dispel some of the myths that insurance companies, their adjusters, and their lawyers frequently promote. Your lawyer can be your advocate throughout the case and aggressively fight for your legal rights—and for a settlement that compensates you fairly for your injuries.
Suppose the insurance company refuses to compensate you fairly for your injuries. In that case, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in the court system and work to ensure that you recover the compensation that you need.
Lawyers should never lie about settlements or any aspect of your case. Always ensure you hire a personal injury lawyer you can trust from the beginning to the end of your case.