When you are in an car accident or are otherwise injured, it is important to get an attorney involved.
Insurance companies make money by collecting billions of dollars in premiums and then by paying less than what they should or even nothing on valid claims.
As much as they claim to be, insurance companies are not your friends. They are certainly friendly when they are collecting your premiums, but the moment you file a claim, they do everything in their power to keep from paying you.
They have years of experience developing a system that is meant to deprive you of money that is owed to you. Everything the insurance company does is meant to deprive you of your valid claim. I have seen the aftermath of an insurance company telling a person that they were coming in “to resolve an identification problem” (their driver’s license had expired) and then sit the person down for a full-blown deposition, resulting in the signing of a settlement agreement for an outrageously low amount.
While working on one of my cases, I recently listened to a recording of an insurance company interviewing my client. The recording was taken before I was hired, and I would never allow a client to have a phone conversation with the insurance company because of the insurance company’s goal of denying the claim. The adjuster was very friendly and courteous, and you would never suspect what the adjuster was trying to do. In the recording, every single question the insurance adjuster asked was meant to deprive her of her very valid claim. Luckily for my client, she had all of the right answers.
Unfortunately in these interviews, too often a claimant answers a question too hastily, worded poorly, or says something in passing in such a way that it will destroy the claim. If an adjuster can find a way to twist your words or show you are at fault for getting hit by a drunk driver, they will be more than happy to do so.
Remember, insurance companies make money by denying claims. They answer to their shareholders, and if their profits are low, the shareholders are not happy. Insurance companies have every incentive to find frivolous reasons to deny valid claims.
Whenever you are dealing with an insurance company, make sure to hire an attorney. Often, if you were injured or otherwise harmed by someone with insurance, an attorney will be willing to work on a contingency basis (taking a percentage of the recovery, but not charging you for attorney’s fees if you lose).
Attorneys provide a shield for you. The insurance company cannot talk directly to you without your attorney’s permission as long as you have an attorney and the insurance company is aware that you have one.
Adjusters are very skilled negotiators, as it is what they do all day. Adjusters do everything they can to keep you from hiring an attorney, because they know that the moment you hire an attorney they will no longer be able to settle for substantially less than your claim is worth. Like adjusters, attorneys also have experience valuing claims and negotiating injury settlements. Negotiating with an adjuster for your own claim is like going to a gun fight with a knife — chances are you will not get what you should have. According to a Consumer Panel Survey of Auto Accident Victims done in 1999, injured victims received an average of 40% more money when hiring an attorney to represent them when compared to representing themselves. (“Paying for Auto Injuries: A Consumer Panel Survey of Auto Accident Victims,” Insurance Research Council, 1999, pg. 45-52).
Another area where adjusters always attempt to take advantage of unrepresented parties is in lessening the damages and completely ignoring other types of damages. Attorneys know what can be considered as damages. Attorneys know the tricks of the trade that allow the best possible measure of damages to be required from the insurance companies.
Even if you do not want to share your recovery with an attorney, at the very least, pay an attorney for a few hours of time to negotiate with the adjuster.
In the end, whenever you are dealing with an insurance claim, get an attorney involved. It will make a huge difference.While contingency fees are not free, they require no money up front.
If the Law Office of Gregory Wilder, PLLC takes your case on contingency, you will not be charged any legal fees up front. If you lose the case, you will not need to pay any attorney's fees.
The Law Office of Gregory Wilder, PLLC's contingency fees start at one third of any recovery, plus costs! Generally, in car accident cases, if the case settles before filing suit, the fee is thirty-three and one third percent of any recovery, plus costs (33 1/3% before the costs are deducted); if suit is filed or if the case goes all the way to trial, the fee increases.
The Law Office of Gregory Wilder, PLLC is willing to do a mix of a flat fees and a contingency fees to lower these percentages. These fees are subject to a legal services agreement.