Signs the insurance company may try to underpay your car accident include:
- The insurance company will not directly answer your questions
- Your claim experiences unexplained delays
- The insurance company claims that you are entitled only to partial coverage
- Insurance representatives indicate that you are at fault for your accident
- The insurance company does not budge on their settlement offer
Other circumstances, like the insurance company using a third-party appraiser, could also lead to the underpaying of your claim.
What Car Accident Victims Must Know About Insurance Companies
Car accident victims should be aware that:
Insurance Companies Represent Themselves
While auto insurers play an important role, remember that you pay for your coverage. Insurance companies – their agents, adjusters, and lawyers – look out for the company first. This contrasts with a lawyer, whose duty will be to you.
Insurance Companies Have Significant Experience
Some car accident victims only experience one collision in their lifetime. Auto insurers deal with car accident cases day in and day out. Your insurance company likely has far more experience with car accident cases than you do, which could:
- Put the insurer in an advantageous position
- Make you vulnerable to bad faith tactics by the insurance company
- Make it easier for the insurance company to underpay or deny your claim
Having a lawyer on your side may help even the experience gap.
Insurance Companies Can Afford to Wait
Delaying a claim is one tactic that auto insurance companies use. Rather than paying the victim what they deserve immediately, the insurance company may offer a low settlement offer first. The company may then wait, hoping that the victim’s financial situation will get worse and that the victim will accept the low offer.
Auto insurers often have vast financial resources. They can afford to wait. By taking a more aggressive approach to your claim, you may prevent an insurer from delaying your claim.
Mistakes to Avoid When Dealing with Insurance Companies
There are several common mistakes that get car accident victims into trouble. Those mistakes include:
- Failing to hire a lawyer before talking with insurance companies
- Making a recorded statement without planning for the call
- Admitting fault for the accident
- Accepting the insurance company’s first settlement offer
- Allowing the insurance company to dictate medical care, repair estimates, and other features of the claim
- Allowing the insurance company to deny the claim without contest
- Succumbing to intimidation or deceit by the insurance company
Failing to hire a lawyer is the most important mistake. If you hire a lawyer, then they will help you avoid other potential mistakes.
The cost of auto insurance rises each year, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). If your insurer fails to honor the policy that you’ve paid for, a lawyer can help.
What Can You Do If the Insurance Company Underpays or Denies Your Claim?
An insurance company’s first offer is not necessarily their last offer. If the insurer provides a poor first offer or indicates that it’s denying your claim, then you still have options.
A lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company. As a result of negotiations, the insurance company may compensate you fairly. If negotiations are not successful, then your lawyer may pursue a lawsuit against liable parties.
How Can a Lawyer Help with Your Insurance Claim?
A lawyer can take your case off your hands. They know the signs that the insurance company is trying to underpay your car accident. Your lawyer will:
- Prevent unwanted contact by the insurance company
- Study all relevant insurance policies
- Take over settlement talks with the insurance company
- Guide you through any recorded statements that you must make
- Negotiate with the insurance company
- Explain whether the insurer’s best offer is fair or not
You may bring a lawsuit if insurance does not pay fairly.
How Can a Lawyer Help with a Lawsuit?
A lawsuit may require additional time and effort after your claim, but the process can be worth it. You may recover the compensation you deserve through the tort process. Plus, your lawyer will handle your lawsuit from start to finish. You can focus solely on your recovery.
In handling your case, your lawyer may:
- Gather witness accounts
- Gather evidence from the accident
- Document your accident-related damages
- Identify liable parties
- Negotiate for compensation before filing your lawsuit
- File your lawsuit
- Seek a pre-trial settlement
Trial is an option when you file a lawsuit. Our team will negotiate staunchly for a fair settlement. If the defendants do not agree to a fair recovery, then we may proceed to trial.
Retain Legal Help Before Your Case Deadline Expires
CVP § 214 generally allows you to file a personal injury case within three years of your accident. Per EPT § 5-4.1, you generally have two years to file a wrongful death claim.
These deadlines do not apply to every case. Your case may have an extended timeframe, and you should call a law firm even if deadlines seem to be expired. Anyone who plans to seek compensation should act quickly, as deadlines may apply.
Call the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP
Our team will deal with insurance companies so that you don’t have to. Let us fight for the financial recovery that you deserve. Call the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP today at (516) 358-6900 for a FREE consultation.
For a free legal consultation, call 516-358-6900The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information and may not be applicable in your jurisdiction.