We can't tell you how many times we get phone calls from folks who've been in car accidents who tried the "do it yourself" approach first. They call the insurance company of the person who hit them, (and their own if they have underinsured motorist insurance,) to file a claim. They quickly learn that the adjuster---the person who deals directly with potential claimants---isn't especially interested in giving them anything approaching what they've lost.
In this article, we'll discuss what you should do as a victim of a car accident to obtain the compensation you deserve. In the meantime, make sure you read our Comprehensive Guide to Understanding Car Accident Law to get a full lay of the land in this area of the law.
Why the insurance company won't pay what you deserve.
If insurance worked the way it's supposed to, all you'd need is to fill out some paperwork, submit a few bills, and you'd get a check. That's not how it works. Why?
- The insurance company doesn't HAVE to pay you. People are always shocked at this. Insurance companies have no legal obligation to pay you at all. They can avoid paying by making any of a host of excuses: blaming you, the weather, claiming the accident was just no big deal, etc. Then, they just sit back and watch you stew.
- The insurance company doesn't WANT to pay you. Insurance companies are not charities, nor are they government agencies. They are companies with shareholders, and those shareholders want profits. Any dollar they pay you for your claim comes straight off of their bottom lines; in other words, your case is a problem to them.
On top of all this, their employees are judged by how little they pay you. The adjuster who may seem so very nice is actually feeling a great deal of pressure to not pay you anything at all. They may act like they're your friend, but their job is to pay you the least amount possible.
What a lawyer can do to fix it.
If you've been injured in a car accident and want to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve, it's almost always the best practice to call an experienced personal injury attorney first, before talking to insurance companies at all. The first thing we do is reach out to the insurance company with a "letter of representation" that tells them not to speak to you anymore, and to only talk to us regarding the crash. This stops the calls and letters from the adjusters. Next, we begin our own investigation of your accident. We try to find out exactly what happened, what documents and information are publicly available, and talk to any witnesses we can. After we put together a package of evidence, we send a demand letter to them, which outlines what we think you're entitled to in compensation for the harm you've suffered, as well as a summary of the evidence that the accident caused your damages.
If this doesn't produce some fruitful negotiations, then we have to file a lawsuit. This puts the full weight of the legal process behind you. Once this happens, either the insurance company gets their wits about them and begins serious and ultimately successful settlement negotiations, or we proceed to take your case to trial.
If you've been injured or lost a loved one in a car accident, it's time for you to call an experienced car accident attorney at 1-855-326-0000 right now to learn how we can help you hold the insurance company accountable.