How to Deal with Insurance Companies After an Accident & Early Offer
After an auto accident, an insurance company will typically handle any personal injury claim or lawsuit you pursue against the driver who caused your injuries. When dealing with insurers, you must remember that they are corporations driven by money, and that they often prioritize profits over the people whom their policyholders have harmed. As such, you should not expect them to deal fairly with you when they dispute, deny, or attempt to underpay your claim, and you should be wary of any settlements they offer early on.
At Caraway Injury Attorneys, our personal injury lawyers have extensive experience protecting the rights of victims throughout the Greater Sacramento Area after they were harmed in preventable accidents, including car accidents, trucking accidents, and other traffic and motor vehicle collisions. Over the years, we have gained a great deal of insight into the ways insurance companies handle claims, as well as the tactics they employ when trying to pay as little as possible.
Because insurance companies want to protect their bottom line, one common approach they take is to immediately offer money to victims harmed by their insured drivers. These are typically low-ball settlement offers, and they are designed to take advantage of victims by paying less than their case is truly worth. If you have been presented an early offer by an insurance company after a car accident, keep the following in mind:
- The insurance company is not on your side – You should understand insurance companies who make immediate settlement offers want to pay you to go away. They are not on your side, and they care only about paying as little as possible and preventing you from coming back should you require more to cover your losses. Be wary of their offers, and consult an attorney who can help you determine what is fair and what is not.
- You don’t know the full scope of your injuries – By offering a settlement early after an accident, the insurance company wants you to accept without you knowing the full scope of your injuries and damages. This not only includes the nature and severity of your injuries and any required treatment, but also other economic and non-economic damages they created, such as any lost wages from missing work, your pain and suffering, any needed medical procedures, costs for therapy, and more.
- You may have future needs – If you accept an early offer and later discover you need a costly procedure to address your injuries, you will be on the hook for paying them yourself. You may also be forced to cover the costs of any future needs you may have, including future medical or financial needs related to injuries that require lengthy recoveries or prevent you from working, or injuries that result in permanent impairments.
- You don’t have to make recorded statements – Before or after offering an initial settlement, insurance companies may ask you to make a recorded statement about what happened in your accident. This is another tactic they employ when they want you to say something that can be used against you, even if it is something as simple as an apology or an honest mistake. They may use these statements to say you were at fault for causing or contributing to an accident, and to pay you less than you deserve. You do not have to provide a recorded statement to the insurance company, and can instead work with a lawyer who can handle communication on your behalf.
- You should consult an attorney – Insurance companies ultimately want to take advantage of what you don’t know, which is why they routinely throw money at victims immediately after they suffer injuries in accidents when they don’t yet have a lawyer. Without legal representation, you may be not know all the damages to which you are entitled, when you have the ability to decline an offer and ask for more, or how to challenge their arguments that you contributed to an accident in some way. By working with experienced lawyers like those at Caraway Injury Attorneys, you can receive the guidance and support you need to effectively deal with insurance companies, as well as the representation to assess your damages, evaluate settlement offers, and determine when it is an appropriate time to settle.
Caraway Injury Attorneys is committed to protecting the rights of injured victims during all stages of their legal journeys, including any and all communication with insurance companies. Our attorneys know how insurers operate when handling accident claims, as well as how to help victims level the playing field with corporations that care only about their profits. To discuss your rights and potential case with a member of our team, contact us for a free consultation.