When you’ve been injured, insurance companies often play a big role in your accidental injury litigation process. From car insurance companies to health insurance providers—chances are you’ll need to work with one at some point during your personal injury case. As a result, it is incredibly helpful to understand how insurance companies can positively or negatively impact your outcome.
Let’s take a look at what to expect from your interactions with insurance companies and insurance adjusters.
How insurance adjusters work with you
An insurance adjuster will likely reach out to you shortly after your accident or initial injury report is filed. It is their job to investigate your case and assess just how much it is worth. Of course, their goal is to try and minimize compensation and keep any payout as low as possible—while avoiding a lawsuit. For this reason, it is important to remember that an insurance adjuster does not work for you. They are working for the insurance company, and may not necessarily have your best interests in mind.
Following an insurance adjuster’s investigation, you will likely receive a settlement offer from the insurance company. The insurance company takes several things into consideration to come up with their offer to you. These factors usually include:
- “Pain and suffering” you’ve endured (or any additional negative or adverse effects due to your injuries)
- Expenses that have been incurred—or may be necessary (such as medical bills or costs to repair property)
- Decreased or lost income
- Policy limits
- Strength of your case
A word of caution: Settlement offers from insurance companies, following a personal injury investigation, are generally very low. And, although it can be tempting to immediately settle and avoid more legal fees or court proceedings; a settlement may not be the best solution for you.
Also, if you do not take that first (or even second) settlement offer, don’t be surprised if your insurance company’s response time slows down or is delayed. This is a tactic often used by insurance companies to encourage settlements. (Hiring an attorney can help you move through this part of the process quickly and effectively.)
Dealing with an insurance company
Now that you have a better understanding of how insurance companies and insurance adjusters work, let’s take a look at how to best use this information to your advantage.
- Make sure you have careful and clear documentation of your injuries. As we’ve discussed in previous blogs, it is important to collect and track all evidence tied to your injury. That means having photographs, journal entries, medical records, receipts, witness accounts, itemized bills that you’ve paid, and proof of any work hours you’ve lost. All of these assets are key to making your case and dealing with your insurance company.
- Think about sending a demand letter. A formal demand letter captures your side of the accident and spells out what happened to you in your own words and what you would accept as settlement.
When you send out a demand letter, you’ll be starting negotiations at a level you’ve dictated. That can sometimes make the process with an insurance adjuster easier (and more controlled).
- Don’t sign anything, unless you’re positive you understand what’s being put in front of you. When it comes to settlement offers, do not sign any paperwork unless you fully understand the offer. Even better, have a lawyer review any settlement offers you may receive. Having an attorney on hand is a great way to protect yourself, and ensure you’re not unwittingly entering into an unfair agreement.
- Consider hiring a lawyer. Getting the help of a legal professional lets the insurance company know you’re knowledgeable of your rights, you’re taking the claim seriously, and you’re motivated to find a fair solution.
Additionally, hiring a lawyer can help you better determine what your specific personal injury case should bring in a settlement.
Give us a call today!
Handling a personal injury claim on your own can be difficult, especially when you’re having to also balance work and family responsibilities. Our team at Wilson Williams Law is here to help. Let us handle working with your insurance company and managing your case, so you can focus on healing and caring for yourself and/or your family.
Regardless of the injuries you’ve endured, our attorneys can help guide you through the various steps involved in the personal injury claim process. Get in touch with us today. We look forward to helping with your or your loved one’s personal injury claim process.
Note: This blog is intended to be informational only and shall not be construed as legal advice