Insurance companies are a business. A big business. With billions in revenue and assets. Their business model is simple: pay out less in claims than they earn in premiums.
How do they manage this? They would respond through sophisticated actuarial and risk assessment. Personal injury attorneys may give a different answer: pay as little as you can, as late as you can.
Insurance companies know most of their policyholders are not insurance attorneys.
They know the average person has difficulty understanding the intricacies of their own policy.
They also know most policyholders don’t know the value of a potential insurance claim.
So, insurance companies take advantage of this, by offering low-ball settlements and scaring policyholders into settling their claim as soon as possible.
Why You Need Your Own Attorney
An insurance company never does anything without an attorney – either directly through one of their attorneys, or by other employees working under the instruction of a company attorney.
They understand their insurance policies are complex contracts, carefully drafted to minimize their liability, and they work aggressively to protect their legal rights in all dealings with customers.
Why should you be any different? Why shouldn’t you have an attorney aggressively protecting your legal rights?
You may not know what seemingly innocent statements, made to insurance company representatives, that are, of course, recorded by the insurance company, may come back to haunt you.
An attorney experienced in dealing with claims and settlements from insurance companies knows how to properly document and present your claim. Your attorney can work to ensure you are fully compensated for your injuries or losses within the terms of the coverage of your policy.
Once you have an attorney negotiating with the insurance company, the insurer knows it can’t use any tricks. Your attorney knows their game plan, because it is always the same.
They know they have to either make a reasonable offer, or face the prospect of defending themselves in court.
Litigation is very expensive, so unless your claim is very large or very questionable, they understand there is a risk that they will lose in court and have to pay for their expensive attorneys (greatly increasing their losses).
Your attorney also will make sure your claims are clearly laid out and that the full cost of all of your damages is part of the claim. Insurance companies like to have claims settled before the claimants are aware of all the expenses of their injuries or losses.
If you need medical treatment, your attorney may advise you to wait to settle your claims until enough time has passed to allow you’re your injuries to be diagnosed.
They will work to calculate accurately the cost of future medical treatment, surgery, rehabilitative therapy or long-term care that may be necessary for your recovery.
Settling Insurance Claims Without an Attorney
You may think you understand your claim and injuries. You may think you know how much you will need for future treatment. You may think you don’t need an attorney. And your insurance company is counting on you to think that.
The insurance company’s offer will sound reasonable, and the numbers they offer will probably seem “somewhat” reasonable. But, unless you are an expert in the field of insurance law and claims settlement, you will never know if you guess wrong.
Then, you may find out that you have run out of money for medical treatment or that you are more seriously injured than you initially thought. By then, however, it is too late. You will have singed a document that forever bars any further claims arising from the incident. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney for help dealing with your insurer – you need to know your rights.