When a person is involved in an accident, many things rush through their mind. How will I pay my bills? I’m going to need money to get to and from doctor’s appointments. I need help paying these medical bills. This experience is a highly stressful and confusing time for an accident victim.
Insurance Company: Initial Offer
An insurance company is a business. They are out to make money, not lose money. When an accident claim comes across their desk, they immediately check into it.
Their job is to keep the other party from filing a lawsuit. They know that the victim will most likely pursue a lawsuit to get fairly compensated. Insurance companies do not want this. They stand to lose a lot of money if the injured person hires a highly-skilled, reputable lawyer.
The insurance companies offer quick cash to avoid full payouts. Signing an agreement with an insurance company will stop any future legal claim for injuries or damage. Unfortunately, countless people fall suspect to this insurance company strategy.
Example: Following an accident, the victim is injured and stressed out, wondering how they’ll cover their bills when they can’t work. The insurance company calls and pretends to answer their worries. They offer a small amount, such as $3,000 “to pay their bills and get on with their life.” Unfortunately, the victim’s doctor later states that the victim will miss more work than originally expected, and their injuries are more severe than originally thought. Their bills top $40,000.
The $3,000 will not help nearly enough. The victim realizes they must find the money to pay for their medical bills and ongoing living expenses while they’re out of work.
Now they decide to contact a lawyer. However, it is too late. By signing the insurance papers to collect the $3,000, they gave up any right to pursue other legal action against the at-fault party.
Consider This Before Accepting an Offer
Injuries are usually simple to calculate as far as medical expenses. You can look at the medical bills and see the expenses for medical treatment and hospital stays. Yet, not all injuries are visible right away, and other potential damages are less obvious.
In Texas, you may pursue other non-economic damages, including:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost companionship
- Lost future earning capacity
Insurance Companies Do Not Want to Go to Court
Insurance companies want to avoid going to court, and they will fight to keep the matter from going before a judge.
Here is an example:
You hire an attorney. The lawyer adds up all the medical bills and potential non-economic damages and then approaches the insurance company. The insurance company does not want to pay that amount. Instead, they tell the attorney they will only pay half.
The attorney refuses, as the actual damages are much higher. There is no agreement, so, the parties go to trial.
Everything gets brought up in court, and the jury decides that the insurance company owes double what the victim’s accident lawyer asked.
Because the insurance company failed to agree to an appropriate amount, they must now pay more.
This scenario happens often. Insurance companies know that if they go to court, they may pay the victim much more money. This reason incentivizes them to settle out of court when possible.
Insurance Company Scare Tactics
When an insurance company approaches an accident victim with the initial offer, they will often tell the victim that this is the maximum compensation possible. The insurance company will have a dollar amount in mind as the highest they want to pay. They will never approach a person with this number because they expect you to negotiate.
Importance of Legal Representation
Accident victims should seek the advice of a personal injury attorney to maximize their potential monetary recovery. Never talk to the insurance companies directly. This step is where your lawyer comes in. While you focus on your health and physical recovery, your lawyer will aggressively fight for your fair compensation.
If you want to pursue legal action after your accident, contact a car accident lawyer today to discuss your case. Only worry about getting back to your normal activities and lifestyle. Your car accident lawyer can answer your questions and take care of the insurance companies for you.