The Auto Insurance Industry's Dirty Little Secret
After an accident happens and the initial panic and frustration subside, it’s time for all parties involved to step forward and take responsibility for their actions and honor their commitments. This means that everyone involved must be diligent in their reporting and take the time to follow up, so that all the appropriate information can be disseminated quickly and accurately.
The police, the courts, the participants and insurance companies all play an important part in making sure the involved parties are cared for and that all their claims are handled effectively. And, with luck, all parties will act accordingly and everything will turn out OK. But, the insurance companies have a dirty little secret.
The dirty little secret of the insurance industry is this: If you are not represented by an attorney, the insurance company will prey on you in order to save themselves money. Initially the insurance company will be very nice to you, in an attempt to get you to trust them and accept a small settlement. Only if you say no, or you want more, will they then attempt to purposely frustrate you in an attempt to get you to give up on your claim.
Although millions of people pay insurance premiums every year to safeguard against poor health, personal injury and even death, insurance companies will do their best to make sure they pay you as little as possible after your accident. Remember that insurance companies are in business to take premiums, not to pay out claims.
If given the chance, any insurance company will work hard to make sure that they pay you only pennies on the dollar for your claim. They’ll tell you, “You don’t need an attorney. I’ll take care of you. You are in good hands.” They will take the time to convince you that what they offer is the right amount to make you go away. This is their strategy because insurance claims are complicated, and you should not know what your claim is worth – because you don’t do this every day. Experienced attorneys do know how to value your claim.
Just remember: as an average person you are not expected to know what your claim is worth.
That is why a personal injury lawyer is so important. Personal injury lawyers are trained to handle claims, so that insurance companies will pay what is due. Injury lawyers are paid to negotiate with insurance companies every day and follow up with claims adjusters. A good lawyer knows when to push an insurance company so that you get the amount of money that you deserve. And when an insurance company hears from your attorney, they immediately know that they have to pay what you are due.
In fact, a personal injury attorney will almost always get you more money – even when you factor in the lawyers’ fees – than a person trying to settle a claim on their own.
The key to successfully receiving your full claim amount is to go and see a lawyer right away. Just talking to a lawyer face to face is free! The best time to come in to see an attorney is when you are first starting medical treatment. This may mean that your claim will take a long time, because you can’t settle your claim until you are completely done with your treatment so that your injury can be effectively evaluated in terms of cost. But, in the end, fully documenting your treatment with a lawyer on board gives the best chance at receiving a full award for your claim.
How you are treated by insurance companies after your accident is a factor of how proactive you are and how well you gather and document your condition and information. Although mainstream media portrays an insurance industry that has only the customer's best interest in mind, it is clear that insurance companies are a business. And, businesses exist to make money. Although the individuals that make up an insurance company may be kind-hearted souls, at the end of the day, their job is to save their employer money – and they are good at it.
Your best defense is a competent and experience personal injury lawyer to help you navigate the traps and pitfalls of the insurance world.