If there is one thing about personal injury claims that you must know it is this: Never settle with an insurance company … before speaking with to an injury attorney. An unrepresented injured party is like blood in the water for the insurance company sharks. Just this past week (when this blog was published) a person who was severely hurt in an auto accident came to consult with us, but he had already signed a general release and accepted a payment of $500.00 from the insurance company for his accident. This person’s case would have been worth tens of thousands of dollars, but he is out of luck because little did he realize, by signing the release and accepting this small sum, he signed away all of his rights – before speaking to us.
What a personal injury attorney will do is: listen to your story, ask you some questions about your situation and injuries, and give you an idea about what type of offer the insurance company should make. In very short order a personal injury attorney can let you know if you should accept the settlement, usually no because it’s a low-ball offer, or retain an attorney to fight for the compensation you rightly deserve.
Below are 5 reasons you should never settle with an insurance company. The insurance companies use their size, money, and strong arm tactics against people on a daily basis, understanding these tricks will help. Read over these reasons before you consider a settlement offer, and keep them in the back of your mind as you speak with the insurance adjuster.
- The insurance adjuster is not your friend. They may seem sympathetic and compassionate, and they may even genuinely feel badly that you were injured, but ultimately they don’t have your interests at heart. The adjuster’s job is to get you to settle quickly, and for as little as possible. Often, at least initially, the adjuster will present an extremely caring demeanor in an effort to bond with you. Then they present the settlement amount almost as if they are doing you a favor. Always remember their job: to get you to settle for as little money as possible.
- The insurance company trains their adjusters to be manipulative, which is a nice term for deceptive. They may lie to you, manipulate the facts, and deceive you any chance they get. They will tell you this is their final offer, that you will receive less money if you retain an attorney, that they are doing you a favor. They will try everything they can to trick you into accepting a low settlement because this is their career. They get paid to get you to accept exceedingly low, and often insulting, settlements.
- Once the insurance adjuster realizes that you will not quickly settle, they may demean and insult you. Suddenly your friendly insurance adjuster will become grumpy, insulting, and downright mean. They will insist that you are attempting to get more money than you deserve and that you are exaggerating your injuries. They will accuse you of being deceptive. They may avoid your phone calls, getting back to you and giving you “their last final offer”. Again, as before, they will do everything they can to get you to settle.
- The insurance adjuster will try to trick you and mislead you whenever you speak to them. Remember when you speak to the adjuster that everything you say can be used against you. If they call and ask how you are doing, and you casually answer, ‘fine,’ they may write down, “Injured party reported on 9/12/2016 that they feel fine.” These unfair tactics are par for the course for insurance adjusters. They may try to get you to give a recorded statement or answer questions that they can later twist and use against your case.
- People who retain an attorney receive more than twice as much in their settlements. A study by the Insurance Research Council found that individuals who hired an attorney to help them through the personal injury process received settlements more than twice as high as those who chose to go it alone.
These 5 reasons you should never settle with an insurance company should be enough, but there are countless other games that the insurance companies play to make your life hell after an accident. Don’t go through this yourself, if you have been injured save yourself the headaches and stress by reaching out to a personal injury attorney right away. At KaplunMarx, we will listen as you explain your case, and will fight to get you a top dollar settlement. Trust us, we have seen all the insider dirty tricks that insurance companies play.