Many people think they can negotiate with insurance companies after suffering injuries in an accident in the hopes of saving money. However, insurance companies use many tricks that the layperson might not know. In most cases, when you use an attorney, you get up to three times the compensation for your injuries. When negotiating with insurance companies on your behalf, attorneys in Williamsport, PA, include medical expenses, attorney’s fees, and costs, among other damages you might be entitled to.
Tricks the Insurance Companies Use
Insurance companies are in business to make a profit. Every claim they pay decreases their bottom lines. If you suffered catastrophic injuries because of another’s negligence, the at-fault person’s insurance could be liable for millions of dollars in medical expenses and other damages. They definitely don’t want to pay that and will find a way to deny your claim or offer you the least amount possible. Some of the tricks insurance companies use include:
Insurance Companies Twist Your Words
One of the best-known tricks insurance companies use is to twist what you say and use it against you. If they can twist your words far enough, they’ll deny your claim. At the least, they’ll offer you a pittance. Most insurance companies record conversations and train their adjusters to look for signs of acts that are inconsistent with your initial claims and will twist something into a liability admission. Even lawyers not used to dealing with insurance companies can fall into this trap.
Once you file a claim, an insurance adjuster will call you. The adjuster will be very friendly, but that is a ruse to get you to talk. The insurance adjuster will even show concern about your injuries. They know you are most likely vulnerable and emotional and play into these feelings to get more information from you. The only information you should give anyone who calls from an insurance company, even a receptionist, is your contact information, the date, and location of the wreck, and your attorney’s contact information.
The Insurance Company Requests or Demands More Information
No matter how hard the insurance company presses, please do not give it any information other than your contact information, the date and location of the wreck, and your attorney’s contact information. The adjuster will tell you it can’t offer money until the insurance company receives more information about the incident and your medical treatments. It will use this information against you so it can deny your claim or offer you a pittance. Since you are not required to give the insurance company this information, refer it to your attorney and/or the police report.
The Insurance Company Tries to Talk You Out of Hiring an Attorney
This is a blatant setup, and most people know it. Often an insurance company waits until it thinks you trust it before it tries this stunt. They love to point out that you’ll have to share your settlement with the attorney. However, they neglect to point out that personal injury attorneys get more out of insurance companies than the average person without an attorney gets – and that lawyers figure their attorney’s fees and costs as part of the damages you are entitled to.
Offering a Pittance for a Settlement
After an accident, you are most likely out of work and worried about paying bills and putting food on the table. Insurance companies know this, and many will offer you a low settlement in the hopes that you’ll snatch it up. Sometimes, the insurance company will tell you the amount it is offering is the most it can pay – that is almost always a lie. Never agree to an offer without discussing your case with an attorney. You might need additional money for medical expenses later. Once you accept a settlement, you can’t go back and ask for more.
The longer an insurance company stalls, the closer you get to the statute of limitations. Once the statute of limitations runs, you can no longer take legal action against the insurance company. Additionally, the insurance company ignores you in the hopes that you’ll give up on your claim. Retaining a Williamsport personal injury attorney prevents this trick.
Recovering Damages after a Personal Injury Accident or Incident
Most people can recover economic damages, and others can recover economic and non-economic damages. Both types are compensatory damages – to make you financially whole again. In some cases, you might be able to recover punitive damages, but only if the court finds the defendant’s actions were grossly negligent or intentional.
Sometimes referred to as special damages, economic damages have a monetary value and include:
- Medical expenses.
- Lost wages.
- Loss of future earning capacity.
- Replacement or repair of damaged or destroyed personal property.
- Funeral and burial expenses.
- Cremation expenses.
- Probate attorney’s fees and costs.
Sometimes referred to as general damages, non-economic damages do not have a monetary value. In most cases, you only recover non-economic damages if you lost a loved one in an accident or incident or if you suffer from catastrophic injuries caused by the defendant’s negligence.
Non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering, including emotional distress.
- Loss of quality of life if you have to make lifelong changes, such as using ambulatory aids or taking prescription drugs.
- Loss of consortium if you can no longer enjoy a physical relationship with your spouse.
- Loss of companionship if you can no longer enjoy time with your family or attend family activities and events.
- Inconvenience if you have to hire someone to do the chores you usually do, including house cleaning, lawn maintenance, grocery shopping, and home repair and maintenance.
- Excessive scarring and/or disfigurement.
- Amputation of a digit or limb.
Contact a Williamsport, PA, Personal Injury Attorney to Help with Insurance Negotiations
If you suffered injuries because of another person’s or entity’s negligence, you could recover damages. Instead of arguing with the insurance company for the compensation you deserve, a Williamsport, PA, a personal injury lawyer can conduct settlement negotiations for you to ensure you recover the compensation you deserve.
After a personal injury accident or incident, contact a Williamsport, PA, personal injury lawyer for a free case evaluation.