Do you ever wonder why insurance companies are so quick to make contact with someone who has been injured in a traffic collision? It is not because they are community-minded or that they are particularly interested in helping an injured person. The general reason is that they want to try to convince a claimant not to hire an experienced personal attorney. They want you to deal exclusively with them for a quick resolution.
Why? The answer is simple. An insurance company will have to pay substantially more money to settle a claim when an experienced personal injury lawyer represents a claimant. Therefore, an insurance company adjuster will likely make certain assurances that damages will be paid to an injured party. “Let’s get you into a rental car” and “Send us your medical bills” are common examples to encourage an individual not to seek legal representation. However, when it comes to settling the claim, the other shoe drops: “You want how much for your injuries?” the adjuster asks.
Typically, the individual who represents himself/herself fails to gather all of the essential documentation to support their claim. Therefore, it is important to know your rights. Also, there are many elements of damages that qualify for compensation with which most lay persons are not familiar. Therefore, these recoverable dollars are “left on the table” during the negotiation process. Once a claim is settled, it cannot be reopened no matter how nice of a person the claimant is, or how frequently they attend church or how many hours of community service they contribute.
An experienced personal injury attorney knows when to start the negotiating process and when those discussions are premature. They also are familiar with the elements of damages, how to substantiate each of those losses, and the manner in which to present those to an insurance carrier, mediator, arbitrator or to a jury.