Injured in an Accident? The Insurance Company is Not on Your Side!

Most personal injury accident cases are resolved out of court. Typically, the at-fault party’s insurance company settles the case, which means that they pay the victim a certain amount of money in return for the victim releasing the at-fault party from any further liability.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, the fact that the insurance company has made a settlement offer to you may lull you into a false sense of security about being able to handle your case on your own. It’s important to remember that the insurance company is not on your side, and the best way to protect your rights is to retain an attorney as soon as you can.

Insurance Companies Are Out to Make Money

To understand why this is, the first thing you should consider is the insurance company business model. Insurance companies collect premiums from their customers on a regular basis and then pay out when claims are made. Obviously, in order to make money, insurance companies must collect more in premiums than they pay out for claims. For this reason, insurance companies are actively trying to pay out as little as possible on every claim they receive. In fact, if an insurance company can find a way to deny your claim entirely, they will almost certainly do so.  If they cannot deny your claim outright, they will offer you pennies on the dollar before you are represented by an attorney.

Insurance Company Tactics

Here are some of the things that insurance companies do in order to deny or minimize claims:

  • Taking a recorded statement from you shortly after the accident occurred, when you are still in shock, dazed, and confused
  • Making a settlement offer within a few days of an accident, hoping that you have not had a chance to discuss your case with an attorney
  • Requesting overbroad medical record authorizations in an effort to find anything in your past that could label an injury or condition as “pre-existing”
  • Waiting until medical bills have piled up, knowing that financial pressure will make you more likely to settle your case for less than it’s actually worth
  • Misrepresenting your rights under the law (for example, telling you that you are not entitled to damages for pain and suffering)
  • Pressuring you to provide a recorded statement to process their claim, hoping that  you say something that can be used against you to justify reducing their settlement or denying your claim altogether

An Attorney Can Protect Your Rights

Fortunately, you are entitled to retain legal counsel even if there is very little chance that your case will end up in court. An attorney familiar with personal injury litigation can communicate with the insurance company on your behalf and make sure that they treat you fairly. In many cases, a lawyer will help you gather evidence that demonstrates your damages, making it more likely that the insurance company’s settlement offers are reasonable and adequately compensate you for all of your losses. In addition, if the insurance company refuses to make a reasonable settlement offer, your lawyer may file a lawsuit on your behalf to make sure you get the compensation you deserve.