You might be dissatisfied with the settlement offer from the insurance company. However, you may never have realized that insurance companies use several strategies to convince you to accept a low offer. This may seem unethical, but remember that the fundamental goal of an insurance carrier is to make a profit -- even while providing a financial service. Contact an auto accident lawyer from a site like http://www.lvaccident.com for a free consultation. You're under no obligation to hire this attorney after the discussion.
Strategy 1: Using Your Medical Records Against You
It's best not to allow the at-fault driver's insurance carrier access to your medical record. They will try to find reasons to make a low-ball settlement offer.
If you've already let the company view your records, a personal injury lawyer knows how to mitigate any damage that could result. For instance, further diagnostic testing, along with second and even third opinions from medical professionals, can bolster your case. The lawyer may have an expert witness -- such as a medical doctor specializing in the type of injuries you suffered -- provide testimony.
Strategy 2: Getting You to Admit Some Level of Fault
The aspect of fault in a personal injury case is a complicated one. Law enforcement may have determined whether you were partially at fault for the accident; how this affects your case depends on the state where you live. Most states use a legal concept known as comparative negligence, in which a court award would be lowered by a percentage if the other driver was not 100 percent at fault.
If law enforcement did not find you to be at fault, the insurance carrier may have pressured you to admit a certain level of fault. You might have admitted to being fatigued, for example, or to driving over the speed limit when the collision occurred.
A car accident lawyer can dispute any conclusions the insurance company has come to if you did accept any of the blame.
Strategy 3: Pressuring You to Settle Quickly
The faster the case is settled, the better for the insurance company. That means you won't be hiring a lawyer or asking for a higher amount.
The insurance adjuster might tell you that not accepting this settlement could lead to your not receiving any compensation at all. Technically, of course, that is true. If the case goes to trial, the jury could rule in favor of the defendant. However, insurance companies are likely to make a higher settlement offer and avoid a trial. They know juries often are sympathetic to injured individuals. In addition, going to court is expensive.
Strategy 4: Not Providing Compensation for All Expenses
The insurance company realizes that most people don't know all the expenses for which they can obtain compensation. For instance, the company's settlement offer likely covers your medical expenses, repairs to or replacement of your vehicle, and lost wages during your recovery. But it may not have included facets such as:
- car rental or taxi service
- a babysitter or other child care service
- psychological counseling for emotional trauma
- temporary loss of ability to do activities you enjoy
Insurance company representatives may tell you that they don't provide compensation for these things. However, they may very well do so when an attorney puts pressure on them.
What Can You Do Now?
As long as you have not accepted a settlement offer, you can still hire a lawyer for legal representation in this matter. If you have a good case, the attorney will request a more reasonable settlement from the insurance carrier and back up the request with evidence why you deserve that amount. It makes good sense to contact a personal injury lawyer and schedule a free initial appointment.