Go Slowly When it Comes to Taking a Quick Settlement
You’ve been in a car accident near Wilmington or Wrightsville Beach. Soon enough, car insurance adjusters are at your door or calling on the phone. They see you’ve been hurt, and so they make you an offer: “Sign here, and we’ll have a settlement check in your hands tomorrow. That way you won’t have those medical bills hanging over your head.”
It’s a tempting offer. You can’t see any catch. What’s wrong with taking a quick settlement and avoiding all the fuss later on?
There’s a Catch, Even If You Don’t See It
Your North Carolina insurance adjuster is not your buddy. His job is to settle insurance claims quickly, efficiently… and as cheaply as possible. Although the insurance policy obligates the company to make a payment for every legitimate claim, the company has wide discretion about how much it pays to compensate an injury. If the adjuster can persuade a Wilmington traffic accident victim—such as you—to accept a lowball payment, then the company will have bigger profits this year, and the adjuster might earn a fat Christmas bonus or even a promotion.
So the adjuster has every incentive to take advantage of your inexperience, and no reason—other than human compassion—to cut you a good deal. If you ask any Wilmington auto accident attorney, he will tell you that the compassion side is always going to lose that contest.
Watch Out for Insurance Adjuster Tricks
The insurance adjuster desperately wants you to sign a release that says, in exchange for their settlement offer, you give up forever your right to sue for more money. He may use any of the following ploys to encourage you to sign:
- Early on, he may make an offer that looks generous. The reason? It often takes months to determine the full extent of your injuries, the cost of rehabilitation you may need, and the value of the work you will miss—or the loss of your earning potential for the rest of your life. The adjuster doesn’t want you to have the time to learn about these costs, because that would increase your demands for a larger settlement.
- The adjuster will press you to name the amount of money you want for your injuries. He has no intention of giving you that much, but knowing your demand gives him tremendous leverage in negotiations. That amount becomes the absolute maximum he will need to pay out. And if you specify an absurdly high amount, he knows he’s dealing with someone who hasn’t done enough research.
- The adjuster is happy when you haggle. Every time you’re willing to drop your demand a couple hundred dollars, he figures that you’re not really seriously injured and that you don’t know how much your claim is worth. He will stretch out negotiations, chipping your settlement demand down as low as possible.
- The adjuster will discourage you from hiring an experienced North Carolina personal injury attorney. He will ask, “Why do you want to share your settlement with someone else?” Of course, the adjuster knows that if you start getting advice from someone who knows how to deal with insurance companies, he can’t rely on his usual tricks to win.
You Need Speaks Law Firm
Most traffic accident cases are settled out of court. Anecdotal evidence suggests that settlements are three and a half times larger when an auto accident victim hires an attorney, compared to cases where the victim does not have legal representation. That, in itself, is a compelling argument to call Speaks Law Firm at 877-593-4233 (toll-free!) today.
Don’t just take our word for it. If you have been injured in a car accident near Wilmington, call us and we’ll send you a FREE copy of The North Carolina Auto Injury Book as our way of introducing the firm. Whether you want someone to help you negotiate a settlement or take your case to trial, we can match you with a Wilmington car accident attorney who will treat you with compassion and fight relentlessly to get you the compensation you deserve. Remember, the first consultation about your case is always free and confidential, so you have nothing to lose by contacting us today.