When you've been involved in an accident, speaking with an attorney as soon as possible is highly recommended. This maximizes your chances of getting the full amount of any settlement to which you may be entitled. When it comes to communicating with an insurance company regarding an auto accident or any other kind of personal injury, it is essential to have legal representation because insurance companies will always try to pay the lowest possible settlement. Having an attorney on your side will help you avoid the pitfalls that plaintiffs frequently face when it comes to communicating with the insurance company. In this article, we'll highlight the process of insurance settlements and the tips and tricks that often jeopardize accident settlements.
At Impact Legal, you won't owe us anything until we secure you a settlement or jury verdict, and your initial case evaluation is completely free. If you've been involved in an accident, call or text our accident lawyers today to set up your free consultation. You can reach us by texting or calling (602) 345-1818. You may also fill out this convenient and secure online form, and we will reach out to you.
How the Accident Settlement Process Works
Most personal injury claims don't make it to trial because most are resolved out-of-court via negotiations. In fact, it's usually to everyone's advantage to reach an out-of-court settlement.
Your accident lawyer will collect the necessary evidence to validate your claim and calculate a fair and appropriate settlement based on the facts of your case. Then, the attorney will draft a demand letter to send to the insurance company. The demand letter will include any damages you suffered as a result of the accident. This may include medical bills, pain and suffering, property damage, etc.
The insurance company will review the demand letter and make an initial offer. Often, negotiations will ensue at this point; your lawyer's goal is to get you the settlement you need and deserve, so he/she will fight for you during this step. In the event that the insurance company refuses to come to a reasonable settlement, your case may proceed to trial so that the court can decide.
Be Wary of Insurance Company Tactics
An accident can cause life-changing circumstances for victims, and the aftermath can be overwhelming. As a result of the overwhelm and desperation an accident can cause, going into negotiations without an insurance lawyer might mean getting taken advantage of by the insurance company. The insurance adjuster may seem like a pal, but it's his or her job to be courteous. It's also the adjuster's job to have the insurance company's best interest in mind. As such, they will offer you the lowest possible settlement, which is certainly not in your best interest.
Here are some of the most common tactics used by insurance companies to settle things quickly and pay as little as possible:
- Convince you that you don't need an attorney - this is one of the most common strategies used by insurance companies because they will be much more likely to get their agenda across if you have no legal representation. They might also try to tell you that most of your settlement will be gobbled up by your attorney. It's true that your attorney gets paid through the accident settlement, but this fee will be calculated into your settlement demand from the start. Your lawyer will fight to maximize your settlement and help you protect your interests. Insurance companies don't want claimants to hire lawyers because they know that means they will have to pay out more in the accident settlement.
- Make immediate contact - Insurance companies may reach out instantly while you're still in shock in the direct aftermath of an accident. The hope is that you are confused and more apt to agree to something that you don't fully understand, or that you may say something that could later be used to your detriment, reducing your settlement.
- Gain your trust - even if the insurance adjuster is sympathetic towards you, you have to be wary of the fact that they might be trying to gain your trust so that you're more likely to agree to something that doesn't serve you. If you become too close to these representatives, it's very possible you might be persuaded to share information with them that can later be used against you.
- Promise a fair settlement - you might be tempted to take the first amount offered to you by an insurance company because you will probably have property damage and medical cost to consider. However, it's never a good idea to accept a quick payout. Agreeing to a lesser settlement will disqualify any chances you might have of receiving compensation for delayed issues that show up weeks after the original injury. Anything that you've signed in the immediate aftermath will completely terminate your claim, and you'll have no avenues to reopen it at a later time.
- Ask for proof of injuries - in order to have your claim processed, you'll need to provide proof of any damages or injuries you sustained. An insurance company may ask you for other kinds of proof that you just don't have, and it could cause you to drop your claim out of ignorance or frustration. Additionally, they could try to twist your words and evidence to mean you were at fault or not as injured as you claim.
- Fix the blame on you - another excellent reason to have legal representation is to prove that you are not the guilty party. It could be that an auto crash, for example, might be attributable to the actions of a single person, or it could be that everyone involved shares the blame. In New Mexico and Arizona, your percentage of fault determines the amount of money you can receive for your injuries.
Obtaining a Fair Settlement
Your insurance lawyer in Arizona will do everything possible to help you obtain a fair settlement for your injuries and damages. They'll gather the evidence, complete all necessary paperwork, and then negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. Your personal injury claim should include all past and present expenses, as well as an amount for projected future expenses.
Read when you should hire an accident lawyer here.
These will include compensatory damages which are all directly related to the accident. It might cover property repair costs, physical therapy costs, emergency medical care, ongoing medical care, follow-up with healthcare professionals, and lost wages and future earnings. Your settlement amount should also include compensatory damages for the suffering, pain, and mental anguish you were forced to endure as a result of the accident.
Contact an Insurance Lawyer in Arizona
Don't go at this alone. Hiring a lawyer will ensure that you have someone on your side fighting to protect your right to recover by monitoring, negotiating, and communicating with the insurance company to ensure you receive a fair and appropriate settlement. If you have been hurt in an accident that was someone else's fault, call or text our insurance lawyers today at (602) 345-1818 or fill out our convenient online form here.