RICHARD F. SILBER, PLLC
What Should You Do When Your Insurer Wants to Settle Your Personal Injury Case?
Hint: When You’re Injured, Your Relationship with Your Insurer Changes
Have you ever marveled at how much better an airline, retailer or other business is at processing your order and taking your money than it is at providing a refund? The reason isn’t technological and it isn’t because the refund process is somehow more difficult. It’s because the nature of the relationship between you and the business has changed. You are no longer a prospective customer the business is trying to woo or a current customer the business is trying to please. Instead, you’re a liability. And liabilities are on the bottom of most businesses’ priority list.
Likewise, when you are looking to buy car insurance or other insurance involving personal injury, insurers are anxious to “sign you” and lock in the premiums you’ll pay. When you’re injured though, you area liability and chances are you’ll be treated like one.
Following an Accident, Your Insurer May Try to Save Money at Your Expense
Here’s how most insurance companies respond to news of a serious accident on the part of one of their insureds.
Perhaps a car accident has resulted in the need for expensive surgery, physical therapy and home care. Like everyone, you’re afraid of a protracted delay in the payment of your medical expenses and other costs. Your insurer is aware that you’re likely experiencing this anxiety.
By offering you a quick settlement, the insurer can capitalize on your anxiety by offering you far less than your claim for damages is likely worth. For instance, perhaps you’re insured for $1 million. Your medical costs and other losses may total $300,000. By offering you a fast settlement of $75,000, your insurer can appear helpful and concerned while actually saving $225,000.
Not all insurers handle claims like this example every time, but you should be aware of insurers’ motivations following an accident and make informed decisions accordingly. The best way to make informed decisions is with the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney.
A Personal Injury Attorney Can Protect Your Rights and Interests
A qualified personal injury attorney can protect your interests by dealing knowledgeably with the facts of your case. What is the likely extent of your injuries? What are the limits of your insurance policy? What would a jury likely award you based on the facts of your case? And what is the actual value of your case, based on the answers to these questions?
Once your attorney investigates your case in conjunction with medical providers to assess your injuries and determines the value of your claim, he or she can work from a position of strength to negotiate with your insurer. Remember, an insurance policy is a legally binding contract. If you’re injured and covered by insurance, your insurer is obligated to pay you the full value of your claim, unless you make the mistake of settling for a lesser sum early in the process. Contact a personal injury lawyer as quickly as possible whenever questions regarding insurance policy payouts arise.