Too often, people hurt in car accidents are so dazzled by an offer from the at-fault driver’s auto insurance company that the possibility of receiving a lump sum of money distracts them from the actual value of their losses. When they accept what is undoubtedly a low-ball offer, they end up doing both the at-fault party and the auto insurance company a big favor.
Settling for an early offer that seems like a lot of cash is one way auto insurance claims adjusters minimize the money their company has to spend on collision payouts. Knowing about this and other common tactics can help you get a fair and just settlement that appropriately compensates you for your losses and expenses.
Common Auto Insurance Claim Settlement Tactics
Settling a car accident injury claim quickly may make the auto insurance company look like the “good guy.” They say they want to make sure you have the money in hand to pay your bills, get your vehicle repaired, and cover your lost wages. But are they really on your side?
No. They are working to minimize the expense of their employer. Auto insurance companies frequently use several tactics to try to settle cases early before claimants know what their damages are worth. This could include:
- Promising cash upfront
- Settling all bills at once as soon as they are available
- Using the victim’s own words against them to downplay their injuries
- Claiming the victim shared fault in the accident
- Denying coverage for some or all car accident injuries
- Discounting the victim’s pain and suffering
The reality is that insurance adjusters know they are likely to pay less soon after a crash than they will in the future, before the victim realizes the full extent of their injuries, necessary medical care, time away from work, and other damages.
When an injured party accepts a quick settlement, the insurance company requires them to sign a form that releases their right to take any further action in the case. This means they are on the hook for any further expenses, medical care, or other damages that were not included in the settlement.
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How a Car Accident Attorney Alters this Approach
Car insurance companies want to negotiate a settlement with the accident victim before they retain a personal injury attorney. This is their best chance at paying out as little as possible. Accident injury attorneys are aware of what constitutes fair compensation.
While they cannot put a specific price on your case just based on your particular injury, they will know when an offer is much too low and encourage you to wait until they can determine what a fair settlement looks like. For example, imagine an insurer offering you $5,000 for a broken arm you suffered in a crash.
When you initially speak with an attorney, they will not know the total of your medical bills, how long you missed at work, the impact of your pain and suffering, your car repair expenses, or other costs associated with your damages. But their experience will tell them this is likely much too low. They will advise you to wait to settle until they complete an investigation and calculate the value of your damages.
Hiring an Attorney to Protect Your Right to Fair Compensation
When you work with a personal injury law firm, one of their primary tasks will be to protect your rights. They know the tricks and tactics insurers use and how to avoid falling into these traps.
They generally handle all communication with the insurance adjusters, at-fault parties, and others. This ensures that you do not say anything the insurance company could try to use to reduce your payout or blame you for the crash.
They will also gather evidence to support your claim and prepare all necessary paperwork. If the insurer will not agree to a fair settlement based on the proof of your losses, they may sue on your behalf. The deadlines for doing so vary across the Gulf South. They fall between:
- Up to one year in Louisiana per Civ. Code Art. 3492
- Up to three years in Mississippi under Code Ann. § 15-1-49
Generally, car accident lawyers offer free case evaluations and represent clients based on contingency fees.
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Speak with Morris Bart, LLC About Your Car Accident Claim Today
At the Morris Bart law firm, we recommend reaching out to a car accident attorney from our team as soon as possible after an auto accident. This ensures you have someone on your side from the very beginning. We will fight for your fair and reasonable personal injury settlement. We have offices across Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Alabama.
Call (800) 537-8185 now for your free consultation with our team.
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