Claimants can get a settlement quickly if they go along with the insurance company and settle fast and low. Unfortunately, this may also result in the victim not getting fair compensation.
“If there’s one thing that I hear a lot of in my practice as an injury lawyer, it is the question, ‘How long will it be before I get a settlement from my car accident?’ The response is usually that getting a settlement takes whatever time is necessary if you are dealing with an insurance company with the assistance of a lawyer. It may take less time if you choose to try and deal with the insurance people on your own; something I don’t highly recommend,” said Brooks Schuelke, an Austin personal injury lawyer with Perlmutter & Schuelke, L.L.P.
Dealing with an insurance company can be one of the worst experiences anyone could ever have, largely because, although they want to settle fast, insurance companies do not want to settle quickly for the same reasons that the victim does. When an insurance company is in a hurry to get a claim settled, they try to get the injured victim to resolve the claim fast and for a low amount. In other words, settle for far less than the victim may actually be entitled to should their case go to court. Their main goal is to give victims as little as possible, send them packing, close the file and call it done.
Often, some of the tactics used by insurance adjusters would shock anyone with a sense of fairness. For instance, it is not uncommon for an insurance adjuster to put words into the victim’s mouth and then add a twist to them. They may start out with a nugget of truth and then spin their sentence into something completely different.
It is not uncommon for them to change horses and opinions mid-stream, either. In one conversation, the victim may be told the other driver did not have the right to do what they did. In another conversation, the opposite may be said. Confusion, diversion, fabrication, offensive remarks and subtle, or not so subtle, accusations are the stock in trade for many aggressive insurance adjusters aiming to keep as much money as they can and close out a claim for as little as possible.
Insurance companies run a business; the business operates on a bottom line. The bottom line is to keep as much money as they can, not hand it out to claimants. If all the claims were paid out at values that were actually fair and equitable, the insurance company would not make as much; hence the drive to save money on the backs of injured drivers.
Be aware that most insurance companies will take notes and record what victims have to say for use against them later. What may appear to be just facts to the plaintiff may suddenly become a conspiracy theory against the insurance company to wring more money out of them unfairly. Dealing with insurance adjusters is like trying to nail Jell-O to the wall.
“While it may seem like you are getting a good settlement offer, you may not be aware, without having spoken to a skilled Austin personal injury lawyer, that you should be compensated fairly for the damages you have sustained. Perhaps the injuries seem minor on the surface and you sign a waiver on your insurance file. Big mistake. Crash injuries have a way of developing into something else over time and if you waive your rights, you can’t claim for anything later. This is why you need to talk to an attorney if you want justice and adequate compensation,” Schuelke said.
Contact Perlmutter & Schuelke LLP at Civtrial.com or (512) 476-4944.