Settlement amounts for car accident insurance claims are significantly higher when filed with the help of an attorney, a recent study commissioned by the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA) revealed. Importantly, this research was conducted by the insurance industry itself. The APCIA called this statistic “a real concern” in the auto insurance industry.
Insurance companies have a reason to be “concerned.” Auto insurance is a billion-dollar industry known to use many less-than-honest tactics to reduce settlement amounts and deny accident victims the compensation they need and deserve. When a lawyer gets involved, companies are forced to live up to their promises to compensate accident victims fully and fairly. From a business standpoint, a lawyer’s involvement isn’t good news for a car insurance company’s bottom line.
Why should you hire a car accident lawyer? Car accident victims who have hired a lawyer know that a good legal representative gets results. When you’ve been seriously injured and your health and financial future are at stake, you turn to a car accident lawyer for help. That’s because you know that you have a better chance for a successful case outcome with an attorney than without one.
Why Settlement Amounts Are Higher When a Lawyer Is Involved
The APCIA study showed that in 2019, less than one-third of auto claims were filed with attorney involvement. However, those attorney-involved claims accounted for more than 86% of loss and allocated loss adjustment expenses. Costs such as paying a third party to investigate a claim are considered allocated loss adjustment expenses. This means that companies were required to pay more money to accident victims in settlements—and spent more money looking for ways to devalue car accident claims—when a lawyer was involved.
Let’s look closer at a few of the reasons the involvement of an attorney is good for a policyholder and not-so-good for the insurance company concerned with profits.
- A car accident lawyer knows what settlement amount is fair—and what isn’t. Accident victims represented by a lawyer are less likely to accept an unreasonably low settlement offer. Those who file claims without an attorney, on the other hand, don’t always have the experience to know when a settlement amount is inadequate.
- Insurance companies are known to ask trick questions and use the answers to devalue a claim. Consider this example: After a crash, an insurance adjuster calls and asks, “How are you?” You answer, “I’m fine.” This reply could be taken by the insurance company to mean that you are not injured—when in fact your injuries are serious, and you were simply being polite to a stranger on the phone. With a lawyer involved, these dishonest tactics can be stopped.
- It’s understandable that not every person injured in a car accident is a skilled negotiator. It is a flawed system in which the injured party must negotiate a fair settlement award after they have been severely hurt by another motorist. A car accident lawyer can expertly handle the negotiation process to ensure that your or another driver’s insurance provider settles on a reasonable amount of compensation.
- Insurance companies don’t always fulfill the obligations of their contracts. This is called insurance bad faith, and it’s illegal. If an insurance company uses unlawful methods to avoid paying a claim, you might not know the full extent of your legal rights without a lawyer.
- Delay tactics are often employed by insurance companies. Delaying the processing or payment of a claim can work against the policyholder in a few ways. For example, dragging the process out might cause deadlines to pass. Companies can then avoid a payment on a technicality. In other cases, an injured crash victim may be in desperate need of funds to cover medical and other expenses. A policyholder may agree to take a quick settlement just to have some money to put toward losses. A lawyer can recognize and prevent an insurance company from using delay tactics.
- For an insurance claim to be successful, you must be able to provide proof to support your claim. As we’ve seen, insurance companies spend large amounts of money hiring third-party investigators to uncover details that may contradict your account of the incident. After an accident, an insurance company may be monitoring your actions, both online and in-person. If you post on social media about a ski trip, for example, or participate in a sport—activities that shouldn’t be done with your injury—the insurance company can use this evidence to prove that your medical bills aren’t as extensive as you claim. If you’re not protected by a lawyer, an insurance company may even try to search your medical records for proof that the injury existed before the car accident.
Should I Hire a Lawyer After a Car Accident?
If you’re still unsure whether hiring a car accident lawyer is right for you, take some time to meet with an attorney who understands insurance companies. Thomas Law Offices, like many well-established personal injury firms, offers free face-to-face case evaluations. This gives our lawyers a chance to hear your case and determine if it’s a right fit for our particular skill sets.
It’s also a way for you to ask us questions and get to know who we are. It’s important for our clients to be part of their own legal proceedings. We want you to be confident in your choice to hire a Chicago car accident lawyer from Thomas Law Offices. If we take your case, we won’t get paid until you win. We strive to provide peace of mind that your legal matters are being handled by a professional, knowledgeable expert personally invested in your success.
The car accident attorneys at Thomas Law Offices know the tactics insurance companies use to deny collision victims fair compensation—and we use our experience to beat companies at their own game. It’s never right for an injured victim to be further taken advantage of by a corporation trying to save money. If you’re interested in learning more about how we can protect your rights in Chicago after an accident, contact Thomas Law Offices for a free case evaluation.
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