Why You Shouldn’t Negotiate With an Insurance Company Without a Lawyer
Insurance companies will be calling you in the immediate aftermath of a car crash or other accident resulting in personal injury. It might seem like a relief that someone cares about your wellbeing and is willing to move forward with the process of helping you receive financial compensation for your injuries. However, keep in mind that insurance companies are for-profit businesses. It is in their best interest to close your claim as quickly and affordably as possible. All too often, accident victims accept the first offer that comes their way due to pressure or a desire to put matters behind them, without considering future costs that may arise from their injuries or losses. The best way to ensure you get what is fully due is by negotiating with the assistance of a lawyer – one who has experience dealing with lowball offers and other insurance company negotiating tactics, and one who has a long track record of success in obtaining fair and full compensation for their clients.
Pitfalls of Direct Negotiation With the Insurance Company
There are several common and easy-to-make errors in dealing directly with insurers after an accident:
- Signing paperwork. The insurer will ask you to sign “a couple of quick waivers” and “information release” forms. Often embedded in this seemingly routine paperwork are clauses that also waive your right to pursue legal action at a later date.
- Making verbal agreements. The insurer may also offer you a quick, painless settlement over the phone. When put on the spot, you may not have time to consider future ramifications. Insurers make it seem like you have one chance to accept money and then the money is gone, but this is simply not true.
- Saying you are “fine” when asked how you are doing. It’s natural and automatic to respond, “I’m fine” or “I’m good” in response to someone asking, “How are you today?” However, if that someone is an insurance agent, your answer could diminish your chances of collecting maximum settlement value, should they use that as “proof” you were not injured as much as you claim.
- Cashing the check. Once the paperwork has been signed and the check has been cashed, the claim is a done deal. This is all the money you can and will ever collect from the insurance company – even if it’s not enough to cover your medical bills and other out-of-pocket expenses.
- Not waiting until you reach maximum medical improvement. Some injuries feel mild at first, but progress to greater severity in the weeks and months ahead. The initial offer may seem generous. Yet, when you consider surgery, rehabilitation, lost wages, and lost earning capacity, it may only prove to be a small fraction of what you really need.
- Admitting some of the blame. If you admit to wrongdoing, you may seriously hurt your chances of obtaining the full amount of compensation you are owed. Even if you pursue a lawsuit, the other party may try to place at least some of the blame onto you to reduce the amount owed.
- Trying to move on without accepting that you are not fully okay. Insurers typically provide compensation for tangible losses like medical expenses and lost wages. Personal injury lawsuit settlements, negotiated by a lawyer, allow you to collect money for losses in quality of life, depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
Need a California Car Accident Lawyer?
Avoid the tricks and traps of insurance company negotiators by letting an experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney at Ellis Injury Law represent your best interests. We can calculate the full amount of damages that you are owed, leaving nothing on the table. When insurers see that a respected law firm like ours is working on your behalf, they know you mean business and will be more likely to come up with a fair offer sooner in the process. Call anytime, 24/7, to discuss the details of your case for free in a private consultation. You owe us no fees or upfront costs; we only get paid if you do.