In these blogs, we tend to cover the tactics that insurance companies will use to try and get you to lower the money you can receive after you’re injured. There’s a very good reason for that: most people, we find, aren’t prepared for how far the insurance companies will go. It can be genuinely shocking the first time you’re faced with it. This makes sense: you’ve just suffered an injury, and you have to deal with something you couldn’t possibly be prepared for. In this blog, our Los Angeles Injury Attorneys will lay out some ways that you can protect yourself from what the insurance companies might try to do.
One of the most common tactics the insurance companies use is the simplest: they tell you not to hire an injury lawyer. Usually, they’ll say that an attorney will take all of the money you might win from a settlement, leaving you with nothing. Or, alternately, they might say that bringing in a lawyer will only “make the process more difficult,” and that you’ll get money if you don’t bring in a lawyer. Neither of those are the truth.
What is true is that an attorney can help you to get more compensation for your injuries than you would get without one. When you hire us, we work on a contingency basis. This means that you don’t have to pay us up front. Technically, you don’t have to pay us at all: yes, our fee will come out of the compensation that we win. However, we certainly don’t take all of your compensation, very far from it.
Remember, the goal of anyone you talk to from the insurance company is to make as much money as possible for the insurance company, not for you. In fact, it’s good to keep that in mind when you’re talking to someone from the insurance company. They aren’t really your best friend and they certainly are not looking out for your best interests. Instead, they want to make sure that you get as little money as possible. If you keep this in the forefront of your mind while you’re talking to them, it can help you to maintain clarity. Remember why they’re there.
The insurance company doesn’t want you to get an attorney because then, they don’t have to deal with someone who also knows the law. No matter how much research you do online, it’s basically impossible for you to know as much about your personal injury case as the insurance company. They do this professionally and have done so for years. The “they” in this case is the insurance company’s lawyers, adjusters, and everyone else on their payroll.
So, they don’t want you to bring in anyone on your side who would be able to match their knowledge. That way, they’re able to tell you whatever offer they’ve made is a good one. They know what your claim is worth. With years of in depth, detailed research, they know exactly what your claim is worth. Their goal is to make sure that you get less than that. So long as you don’t get the money you deserve, they win. When you don’t have an attorney on your side who can tell you differently, it makes it that much easier for the insurance company to achieve that goal.
That leads naturally into another technique that the insurance company may try to use on you: offering a settlement that’s far less than what you deserve. The keys to this plan are, of course, making sure that you don’t have an attorney who can tell you otherwise as well as making sure that they offer this settlement quickly. When we say “quickly,” we mean it. We’ve had clients who were offered a settlement just a day or so after the initial accident itself. It’s even possible to be offered a settlement before you get a chance to see a medical professional.
From reading this, it might seem obvious that this is a bad idea. Obviously, the insurance company is trying to get you to take less money than you deserve. But, it’s one thing to read this dispassionately on your phone or laptop, and something else entirely to be offered a lot of money after you’ve been in a terrible accident, or suffered some other kind of injury. A life threatening accident (even if it didn’t leave you with a life threatening injury) can be a genuinely jarring event. It can put you into an uncomfortable, vulnerable emotional state.
That, of course, is exactly what the insurance companies are counting on. They want you to be afraid, they want you to be worried, and they want you to be nervous. When you’re feeling low, and someone comes out of nowhere and offers you a lot of money, it can seem like an absolute miracle. Just when you’re worried about how you’re going to pay for your medical bills, injuries, and so many other fees that you didn’t prepared for; here comes a bunch of money. That can be very hard to turn down.
It can be especially hard to turn down if you’re worried that it’s all you’ll get. Of course, some insurance claims adjusters will try to tell you exactly that. They might say that this is the only offer, you’ll never get more than that, and if you don’t sign it now, you won’t get anything at all. From a distance, it’s easy to intellectualize those “high pressure” sales techniques are often used for a reason: they’re a bluff. But, when you’ve just been injured, it can be far harder to overcome that.
Before you sign anything from an insurance company, let us look at it first. We mention that quite a bit in these blogs, but that’s because it’s so important. If you sign something from the insurance company, and it’s for far less than you deserve for your injuries, it can be very difficult to get you the money that you deserve. That’s the last thing you want to do. When you’ve been through an injury, you deserve to get as much money as possible.
If our lawyers get a chance to look at any paperwork from the other side first, we can let you know if it’s a good deal. We can tell you if this is what your claim is worth, or if you should absolutely ignore this. Spoiler alert: if the insurance company made an offer right after you were injured, odds are it’s going to be much less than your claim is worth. Almost invariably, this is the case. As your lawyers, we can tell you what your claim is actually worth. Moreover, we can tell you how we’ll go about making sure that you get everything that your claim is worth.
When you bring us into the fold, you don’t have to worry about dealing with people from the insurance company anymore. Instead, you can let us deal with them. As your attorneys, they would have to give us any correspondence before passing it along to you. For many of our clients, this is a relief. Instead of having to deal with the constant pressure of the insurance company, you can let our lawyers handle it. It’s one more way that we can provide our clients with greater peace of mind.
We know that when you’ve been through a difficult injury, it can be hard to reach out to an attorney. That’s why we wanted to make the process as easy as possible. Contacting us for a free consultation can be done by giving us a call at (818) 240-1800 or reaching out to us through our website. We look forward to hearing from you.