If The Insurance Company Comes Back With A Lowball Offer Or Denies A Claim Altogether, What Are The Next Steps You And Your Client Will Take?
A lowball offer is the insurance company telling you that they don’t respect your claim. They want to give you something, and we call it a nuisance value claim where they’re trying to offer you any money to go away. Perhaps they think that an attorney is not representing you, or they don’t see the attorney as one who will take the case further to cause them to spend money to defend your justifiable case.
The goal is to make the insurance company see that you’re not going to do that, and the case is worth a lot more. One factor to consider is, of course, the medical records or your medical reports. Insurance companies are always trying to pick apart what doctors you’re going to, what the justifiable expense are, and we don’t buy it at all. In addition to that, they think that basically, you don’t dare to go to trial and present it in front of the jury for many reasons. They believe that juries won’t award personal injury damages to people who may have particularly called a Soft Tissue Injury or a subjective injury where they cannot see your pain and suffering. They may also use the excuse that the property damage does not appear severe. It’s up to the attorney to make sure the jury knows that even a subjective injury, something they can’t see, is, in fact, an injury. Not just that, but it’s a severe injury because it caused you to lose time from work, it caused you to be in pain doing simple things that any ordinary person should be able to do.
It’s up to the attorney to educate the insurance company that you know how to inform the jury, and once they see that we come back to the money factor. They know that they’ve got to spend a significant amount of money on their attorneys to defend this case. They’re more willing to offer you more money because they now know that you’ve hired yourself an attorney that knows how to handle your case.
Does Having An Attorney On My Side Make The Insurance Companies Evaluate My Personal Injury Claim Or Case Different Than If I Were Trying To Go It Alone?
Absolutely. There’s an old saying that a lawyer that represents themselves has a fool for a client. In other words, you are at a disadvantage when you’re trying to negotiate with someone on your own. I understand that you may find it more economical, you may find that you have a certain amount of knowledge, but you’re in a situation where you have to argue for yourself. That’s always a difficult position to be in. Insurance companies don’t respect the claimant. Their job is to keep the money inside their policy to make more on it by loaning it to other folks or other ventures they may have. When you hire a lawyer that knows what they’re doing, particularly a personal injury lawyer, they know what the insurance companies try and protect. The insurance company becomes much less intimidating because we know how to handle them.
Unless you must, never represent yourself in a personal injury matter because you have a distinct disadvantage. If you have some concerns with the lawyer, find one that you are comfortable with. Ensure the lawyer disclosed to you all the things that they are willing to do on your case. If a lawyer does meet your comfort level, make sure it’s a lawyer that you have comfort in communicating with because it’s essential to know what’s going on from day-to-day. It is just as important to understand that the insurance company does not want to pay out the money as it is for your lawyer to explain why, and how they intend to get more.
What Factors Help You As The Attorney To Determine Whether It’s Time To Advise Your Client To Take Their Personal Injury Case To Trial?
This is a fundamental question and one that sometimes the client doesn’t understand the answer to. I look at the severity of the case, and if I know that the amount of money they’re offering is well under the amount that the client is due based on the injuries, I inform the client that the offer will not satisfy their needs. So, it’s best, at that point, to move to a courtroom and litigate your case.
That doesn’t mean that you’re going to win the case. It certainly means that they’re acting unreasonably with you, and it’s my job to make sure that this insurance company operates fairly with you because that’s what insurance is for. The states mandate that all people have to have insurance, but they should require that all insurance companies operate fairly to legitimate claimants in a matter. So, it all depends. Again, most insurance companies don’t want to pay out money, but we make sure that they’re paying out at least a fair amount of what we think that we can get in the court if we have to litigate this.
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