Do I Need a Lawyer if the Insurance Company Offers Me a Settlement?
Insurance companies like to resolve claims quickly and to issue settlement checks as soon as is possible to parties that have been in accidents. Those companies know that accident victims often delay before hiring a personal injury attorney, and that offering a settlement check is an easy way to stop them from retaining their own legal counsel who can argue for a larger settlement award. The Los Angeles accident and injury attorneys at Ellis Law Corporation suggest that accident victims should think about the following matters when considering whether they need a lawyer if an insurance company offers them a settlement.
The insurance company is not an advocate for the accident victim.
An insurance company will represent the party that is responsible for the accident, and not the accident victim that suffered injuries and property damage. That company and its lawyers have no incentives to look out for the accident victim, and their interests are adverse to the person that suffered injuries and property losses. An accident victim should retain a Los Angeles car accident lawyer to act as his or her own advocate and to argue for a larger payment when an insurance company offers a settlement.
The insurance company conducts only a limited investigation.
An insurance company will offer an early settlement that is based only on whatever documentation the accident victim can provide, including property repair estimates and invoices from doctors for medical services that have actually been provided. That documentation will generally not reflect the victim’s prospective medical and physical therapy expenses or his or her non-economic damages for things like pain and suffering. A lawyer can help the accident victim to negotiate damages for these and other future expenses.
The insurance company might create artificial deadlines.
An insurance company might offer a settlement with a caveat that the accident victim has only a limited number of days to accept the settlement before it becomes void. This tactic places excessive pressure on the accident victim to accept the first settlement out of fear that the insurance company will offer nothing more. In reality, the only significant deadline in an accident case is created by the statute of limitations, which, in California, requires an accident victim to file a lawsuit for personal injury claims no later than two years after the date of the accident. A lawyer can verify that the accident victim has met this deadline and is not falling prey to undue pressure from the insurance company,
The insurance company is an accident claims adjustment expert.
Insurance companies investigate and settle thousands of accident claims every year. Alternately, an accident victim is settling only a single claim. This imbalance of experience creates a significant prejudice against the accident victim. Hiring an attorney who has experience in investigating accident claims and in negotiating with insurance companies will create a more level playing field between the victim and the insurance company.
Hiring a lawyer will not create any extra charges or fees for the accident victim.
The attorneys at the Ellis Law Corporation will meet with you and investigate your accident case at no cost or expense to you. If we accept your case, we will charge a fee only if we are able to recover damages for you from the party that was responsible for the accident and that party’s insurance company. The fee that we charge will then be covered by your final settlement award.
Injuries and property losses can cause a party to make bad decisions.
Even the most rational decision maker will be distracted while recovering from injuries sustained in an accident. Those distractions can cause an accident victim to make rash decisions about payments from an insurance company. A lawyer can help an injured party to make more objective decisions when an insurance company offers him or her a settlement check. Further, a lawyer can remove the accident victim’s burden of dealing with the insurance company and free up the victim to focus on his or her own recovery.
An attorney can help an accident victim to recover damages that the victim’s own insurance will not cover.
An accident victim might decide to rely on his or her own health insurance to cover medical expenses for injuries after an accident. In that case, the victim will still be liable to pay deductibles and co-pays, which can amount to thousands of dollars. A Los Angeles personal injury lawyer can help the victim to negotiate with a responsible party’s insurance company to cover those extra expenses.
Call the Ellis Law Corporation
Before You Accept an Insurance Company’s Settlement Offer
The accident and injury lawyers at the Ellis Law Corporation in Los Angeles have represented accident victims throughout southern California to recover significantly larger damages awards from insurance companies that make low initial settlement offers. Call us or see our website if an insurance company has offered you a settlement. We will provide a complimentary investigation of your case and determine if you are entitled to a larger damages award