Putting The Pushy Insurance Company In Its Place After An Accident
If you're hurt in an accident through no fault of your own, you can bet that the responsible person's insurance company will be in contact soon. There is one big reason that the insurance company typically starts trying to make a deal so quickly: The faster they settle the case, the less money it costs them. If they get you to take a fast settlement, they can usually avoid paying you big bucks. They also get to skip court costs and attorney costs this way. This can be extremely frustrating, but you don't have to give them the upper hand. Use the following tips to stay in control when the insurance company gets pushy.
Controlling the Contact
While you can't stop the insurance company representatives from sending letters, emails, or voicemails, you can still control the contact in one very effective way: With silence. The less you say, the more control you have.
The insurance company views any conversation or contact with you as willingness to make a deal. They will make note of everything you say and won't hesitate to use anything you say against you. Any slight error that you make when discussing the accident may be used as an excuse to try to avoid fully compensating you for your injuries.
Don't discuss your damages with the insurance company, and don't respond to the initial offer at all. Even if the insurance company claims that an offer is good for only a very limited period, this usually isn't true. They may just be trying to force you to settle due to a sense of urgency.
That initial offer is usually so low that the insurance company doesn't expect you to take it, in fact. The first offer is exactly that: A starting point. To get past that starting point successfully, remain silent and move on to the next tip: Using a skilled accident lawyer for the negotiations.
Successful negotiation with the insurance company takes considerable legal skills, so you should nix any attempts to negotiate yourself. This is where your lawyer's skills can make all the difference.
The main reason to hire a personal injury lawyer is money. Handling the case on your own will typically result in a smaller settlement than your lawyer could get for you - even when you take the lawyer's fees into account. Your lawyer will act as an aggressive negotiator, pushing the insurance company to their absolute limits to make sure that you get the full compensation due to you.
Another important reason to work with a personal injury attorney is stress reduction. Your lawyer can immediately assume all the responsibility for dealing with the insurance company. Typically, the lawyer will send the insurance company a letter informing them that you now have legal representation and that all future contact should be routed through the lawyer's office. If you hear from the insurance company again, tell them "Talk to my lawyer," and have the lawyer's number close at hand. The phone calls (and most of your stress!) will halt quickly after the insurance company realizes you have a lawyer.