If you have been injured in an auto or truck accident, the insurance adjuster has information that you do not have. Insurance adjusters are knowledgeable and experienced. They are not necessarily bad people, but their interests are in conflict with yours. The adjuster will use that information, knowledge and experience for the benefit of his or her employer. His or her employer is the insurance company. The insurance company makes more money if they pay you less for your claim. Level the playing field a little by learning some of what they know.
In determining the value of your claim, you must take the facts of your case and look ahead. You imagine what a jury would award if it heard the facts of your case after a trial. This is the process in every case, even if your case never goes to trial. And, if your case is set up correctly from the beginning, you may very well avoid court altogether.
In general, more serious injuries with greater medical bills produce higher settlement values than less serious cases with lower medical bills. Also, insurance companies will pay more for cases involving permanent injuries or death as long as these cases are properly diagnosed, treated and documented from the very beginning.
The process for calculating the value of a particular case has grown more complicated over the years. Twenty-five years ago, injury lawyers used a very basic calculation to estimate the settlement value of a case. We would calculate the medical bills. Then we could demand three times medical bills as a settlement for the claim. The use of computers has changed that process forever.
Insurance companies now use computer models to calculate the value of your case. Claim data is entered into the computer, and the computer gives an estimated value or a range of values. The insurance adjuster’s settlement authority is derived from that estimated value or range.
The use of this computer model has changed the way settlement values are calculated. More importantly, this process has changed the way we prepare and present a claim. Our settlement demands are much more thorough, complete and comprehensive these days.
Today, in order to get a fair settlement for an injury case, we must identify the positive settlement factors that apply to your case. We cannot just describe these factors over the phone to the adjuster. The adjuster may listen politely. He may ignore these factors in the claim evaluation. We must document the factors and support them with credible legal, factual or medical evidence.
In addition, we must avoid negative factors. An example of a negative settlement factor is “pre-existing medical condition". Adjusters and health insurance providers may use these negative factors to reduce the value of your claim. We may have to provide legal, factual or medical evidence to demonstrate that a particular negative settlement factor does not apply to your claim.
Below you will find 15 questions. The answers to these questions can directly impact the value of your auto injury claim.
1. Do you have a respected lawyer?
2. Was the collision clearly someone else’s fault?
3. Was the other driver ticketed?
4. What are your medical bills?
5. What are the nature and extent of your injuries?
6. Should you expect future medical expenses?
7. Have you lost income as a result of your injuries?
8. Have any of your bills been paid by a third party, such as health insurance or Medicaid?
9. Are there liens against the proceeds of your case that you are responsible for paying?
10. Is there any permanent injury or loss of use of a particular part of the body?
11. Did you have any pre-existing injuries?
12. Did you have any particular susceptibility to injury?
13. Was the responsible driver driving for his or her employer at the time of the collision?
14. What are the limits of the responsible driver’s insurance policy?
15. Do you have any insurance coverage that may pay for some of your injuries?
There are many other factors that may apply. It is worth repeating that these factors should not be addressed orally over the phone. The adjuster may acknowledge your assertion and then ignore it from the settlement calculations. Each factor must be supported with evidence or documentation.
In addition, all injury lawyers say they are aggressive. You have heard the ads, right? However, as you can see here there is more to this process than being aggressive. In fact, a hyper-aggressive attorney can result in the unnecessary trial of your case.
Securing a fair settlement is not magic. You don’t get fair compensation because of whom you know. Fair compensation is not the product of intimidation, “smooth talking,” or “bulldogging.” Insurance adjusters are too smart and sophisticated to be bullied by a overly-aggressive lawyer. Fair settlements are the result of knowledge, experience, organization, diligence and determination. It is both an art and a science.
For the insurance company, this is not a moral analysis. They have little incentive to “do the right thing”. Insurance companies are businesses. Businesses have a purpose. The purpose is to maximize profits. For them this is a mathematical analysis. What is the smallest amount of money we can pay to get rid of this claim? Your claim is an expense. They maximize profits by minimizing how much they pay you.
It may sound like going through this process complicates your claim. It does not. It simplifies and clarifies the processes. Claims that are properly documented, settle much more quickly and for much more money. We can show the insurance adjuster each of the positive settlement factors that apply to your claim. We can show why negative factors should not apply. We can do this by making sure that your case is properly diagnosed, treated and documented from the beginning. Call (910) 341-7570 now for a free consultation with experienced professional. There is no obligation. Or click follow this link for additional information about finding the right injury lawyer.
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