Auto insurance is one of those things you know you must have, so you purchase what you feel you need, and pay your premiums faithfully. You never really think of it again – until you're involved in a crash.
So many things are set in motion after being involved in a car, motorcycle, bicycle or pedestrian accident, and none of them are pleasant. The severity of the circumstances become worse if you or someone in your car was seriously injured. The devastating aftermath of trying to rebuild your life is only made worse when you find yourself having to deal with an insurance company – either yours, or that of another driver involved in the crash.
Within a very short time following the crash, you'll be called by one or more insurance claims adjusters or claims “handler”, and they'll begin asking a lot of questions about the crash. Of course, they'll notify you that the call will be recorded, and they'll talk to you in a very friendly manner. But the fact of the matter is, their job is to figure out how to not pay you what you feel is fair, or to even deny paying your claim at all. (We've written more on questions from an insurance adjuster – you can read it here.)
Not Always “On Your Side”
Insurance companies, staffed with countless lawyers whose job it is to save the company's money, will often engage in delay tactics in resolving your injury or damages claim. This is the time when most people start thinking about their car insurance coverage, and what they feel they deserve for paying their premiums all these years.
You may find after reading all the fine print in your insurance contract that you aren't as covered as you thought you were, and the carrier is fighting as hard as possible to not offer you a fair and reasonable settlement. When they begin questioning you, they're attempting to uncover some little sentence that may provide them an out, to reduce their burden to pay out on your settlement. While you may feel you're involved in a pleasant conversation with an insurance professional, in reality you're in a serious negotiation. What you say – or don't say – can make a huge difference in whether or not you receive fair and adequate financial compensation for your physical injuries and damage to your vehicle.
Insurance adjusters have formulas and computer programs they use to determine what their financial exposure may be. The problems come up when the insurance company's adjuster or claims handler tries to engage in the practice of law. When they start saying things like ‘well, the law in Florida says', that is the precise time you may want to consider calling an attorney who is well versed in the practice of personal injury law.
5 Reasons You Should Negotiate Through an Attorney
Showing You Mean Business – When an insurance adjuster realizes you have retained an attorney, they understand you are serious about the settlement negotiations. They'll know that they won't be able to get you to accept an initial low-ball offer, and they won't be able to confuse you with legal jibberish. Unless you happen to be a very savvy negotiator, having an experienced personal injury law firm in your corner to best represent your interests is a smart move.
Our firm will prepare a demand letter, clearly stating what we feel are the specific details of the crash, who should be held accountable and a monetary amount you would like to receive for your injuries. This is what we do every day, and we know how to deal with the negotiations that will be initiated by your filing an accident claim.
Reservations of Rights Letter – As we said, the insurance company's main goal is to pay you as little as they can on your claim, or possibly deny your claim altogether. After the initial phone interview, you'll receive what's called a Reservation of Rights letter. This letter will outline the fact that the insurance company is in the process of investigating your claim, but also that they are in no way admitting that they owe you a penny on your claim. They're basically covering themselves early, putting you on notice that there is no guarantee you'll receive any financial settlement at all, but they're ‘looking into it'.
They're Hoping to Wear You Down – If you reject their initial offer, which is a given in almost all of these negotiations, you'll find yourself sliding down a hole into insurance hell. Adjusters are trained to negotiate in their favor, and in all candor do not have your best interests at heart. They will attempt to make another offer, and another, until you're exhausted trying to decipher them all. Most folks aren't equipped to handle all the back-and-forth tactics employed by insurance companies, let alone make sure that every step of the negotiations are memorialized, for the record, in writing. That's what we're here for.
Responding Correctly to Their Offer – Just like the lawyers who work for the insurance company, our personal injury attorneys have years of experience and specialized training in negotiations. We know exactly how to respond to any type of offer so that your financial interests are aggressively protected, and you receive money to take care of any physical injuries you may have suffered. The last thing you need to worry about is how you're going to pay your medical bills for current or ongoing care and treatment. When they see you have a personal injury lawyer in your corner, they know their offers need to be more realistic, and that you're not just a case number they can get to go away.
The More Severe Your Crash, the More You Need Us – We deal with all types of injury crashes, some of which result in extremely severe, life-altering injuries, or even a wrongful death claim. We have clients who have been rendered a paraplegic or quadriplegic because of someone else's negligence, carelessness, or both. Medical care alone for these individuals can be into the millions of dollars, not even considering the loss of future earnings, being unable to do the very basic things we all take for granted and other ramifications. If you or a loved one has been victimized by catastrophic injuries, the negotiations get much more difficult, and you should definitely consider hiring a skilled, experienced personal injury law firm to stand up and fight for your rights under the law.
One Call is All it Takes
Even you may be uncertain if you even need an attorney, it never costs a thing to find out. You can call our office in Downtown Fort Myers at 239-461-5508, or simply fill out this contact form to get in touch with us. We're always available to speak with you at no cost and help you determine if you do or don't need an attorney following your accident. Don't make the mistake of hiding from the problem, or thinking it will work itself out. When you hire our law firm to represent you, you never pay us any fees or costs up front. We work with you on a contingency fee basis, which means that any monies received by our office will come from your insurance settlement, or from the amount awarded you from a jury trial.
Speaking of a jury trial, every major insurance company knows us, and knows we are not afraid to take a case all the way to trial if we do not feel their settlement offers are reasonable. This is not the case for every personal injury law firm in town. It is true that many of our cases do end up resulting in a financial settlement for our clients that are in their favor, and very often at the last minute, just before a trial has been scheduled.
But in the event that does not happen, you can count on the attorneys at Goldberg Noone to step into the courtroom and go toe-to-toe with anyone who we feel is standing in the way of you getting your life back, and recovering from your injuries to the best of your ability.