If you have a leaky toilet, you call a plumber, right? Makes perfect sense. This is why I find it so strange that people who have been hurt in a motor vehicle accident take legal advice from an insurance company representative.
When you're involved in a car, motorcycle, bicycle or truck accident, one of the most daunting things you'll be faced with is trying to deal with an insurance company – yours, and that of the other vehicle's owner. And let me assure you, their job is to give you the least amount of money that they possibly can for your physical injuries and for repair or replacement of your car.
Insurance adjusters keep their job by keeping the amounts they pay out on claims to a minimum – if they even acknowledge they are liable to pay out any claim at all. Their position is going to be to tell you not to bother with talking to a personal injury attorney, because “all they'll do is slow down the whole process, and delay getting money into your hands”.
So, let me make this as clear as I can. When the insurance company tells you not to hire or even speak to an attorney – you most definitely need an attorney.
Usually, your phone will ring about a week or two after your crash. It will be the insurance company that carries the coverage on the at-fault party's vehicle. The conversation will be scripted to make you feel all warm and fuzzy, starting by the adjuster asking how you're feeling, and if you are doing ok since his insured crashed into you, and turned your life upside down. They will express deep, caring thoughts of sympathy, and agree with your assessment that this whole accident situation has been quite an ordeal.
Then, the questions start. In many cases, you may not even be able to tell you're being interrogated – their scripted questions have been honed by years of development, carefully crafted to sound like just so much friendly, casual conversation. Somewhere in the conversation, the insurance rep will suggest that they are prepared to send you a check, and “get this whole terrible ordeal over with, so you can move on”.
Don't fall for it.
There are guidelines set forth by the American Medical Association that suggest that injuries from a car crash may not even be discernible right after the accident. They also suggest that an evaluation of permanent impairment, in some circumstances, cannot be accurately diagnosed until sometime after the accident. It's only after a qualified doctor has had ample time and opportunity to fully evaluate the true extent of your injuries that you'll know exactly what type of care you may require – both now and for the rest of your life, in some cases.
Insurance companies are businesses, and their overall goal is to keep more money going towards their bottom line, and out of your pocket. Their friendly offer to send you a check is their way of saying your case is so simple that there's really no need to get a lawyer involved. The amount they offer will be a very small amount, trying to convince you that it's best to get this all wrapped up and out of the way.
This is exactly why you should consider calling a qualified, experienced personal injury attorney immediately after you've been involved in a crash. We know what to say, what not to say, and exactly how to negotiate with the lawyers working for the insurance companies. Our job is to fight vigorously for every penny you are entitled to under the law, and to make every effort to ensure you receive fair and just financial compensation.
It doesn't cost a thing to come in and sit down to review the circumstances of your accident. And, you won't pay us a dime, unless we are successful on your behalf.
Don't fall for one of the slickest insurance company tricks in the book, and end up settling for a tiny amount. Enlist the services of an aggressive personal injury attorney, and maximize your chances of receiving the fair financial settlement you deserve.