Posted on behalf of Henness & Haight on Nov 26, 2014 in Personal Injury News
What happens if you have been injured in a car accident? Hopefully, you will be receiving a settlement offer soon from the other driver's insurance company. You have already documented your medical expenses and reviewed the accident report. What more do you need?
The fact is that many of these cases are not nearly as straightforward as people assume. Injured parties may be shocked to discover later that the settlement offered is far lower than expected. Even worse, they find that the insurance company is challenging the claim because now their client says that they weren't really at fault. Even with an explicit police report on file, parties can dispute the interpretation of events. Minor factors that you left in or out of the report are now being blown up to ridiculous proportions and the insurer says that you will not be getting as much compensation as you thought- or you are not entitled to any at all. In another scenario, the insurer may deny coverage for certain medical expenses that they feel were not the direct result of the accident. Suddenly you have an extremely low offer on your hands and time is running out on to move forward with a lawsuit because of the statute of limitations. Insurance companies have many extremely complicated mechanisms, and one person may have multiple policies with the same or different companies. What happens is that the insurer puts an offer in front of you and hopes that you will fold rather than try to up the ante.
An experienced injury attorney is capable of filing motions or affidavits to see the exact nature of the insurer's available options. With a lawyer's help, the insurer must now show their hand and put all of their possible courses of action on the table. Not having this ability, you are left in the dark as to whether or not an offered settlement is fair. Without the power for legitimate legal representation, the insurer is less worried that you will take the case to court in order to pursue more appropriate compensation.
When someone offers a settlement, it usually means that the settlement is a compromise to avoid further liability. The defending party offers a sum of money to the plaintiff in exchange for them to agree not to pursue the case further. Once the settlement is accepted, the case effectively ends as the plaintiff has in most cases waived their right to a lawsuit. This strategy usually involves the insurance company protecting themselves from the full potential costs of the case; this includes their own court fees as well as the larger awards a judge or jury may grant the plaintiff once the case is decided. The insurance company will avoid this situation at all costs and attempt to get you out of the picture as quickly as possible by offering you cash up front.
Not all cases need to go to court, but having an injury attorney can help speed along the process of receiving compensation. An attorney can also reveal options that you did not consider or did not have access to without them. In cases involving unclear liability or that have extended ancillary claims that the insurer can dispute, an attorney will be able to navigate them without hitting any snags and get you a fair settlement. If an insurer knows that you have a lawyer on your team, some insurers may also offer a larger settlement. They know that if they do not agree to settle, you will be able to pursue the matter further. With an injury attorney at your side, you can feel more confident that you are getting the amount of compensation you are entitled to without your options being hidden from view.