Being injured by someone else’s negligence leaves accident victims in a challenging position. Victims often need expensive medical treatment, while facing lost income from being unable to work – all of which help make obtaining full and fair compensation that addresses the full range of losses very important.
If the negligent party’s insurance company chooses not to negotiate in good faith, it makes moving forward successfully exceptionally difficult. Fortunately, there are some ways to help keep insurance companies honest and accountable that apply across most all types of personal injury claims. Working closely with an experienced Biloxi personal injury attorney who has experince in how to navigate claims and negotiations is the best way to protect one’s legal rights.
Insurance Companies are Businesses that Focus on Profits
Insurance companies that cover personal injury claims are businesses first and foremost. They put profits first, and the best way to maximize their profits is to keep their settlement payments as low as possible.Insurance companies will do everything they can to look for ways to deny a claim before paying full and fair compensation. In order to do this, insurance companies have multiple techniques at their disposal, and many of them are overbearing or deceitful. Understanding the insurance company’s stance can help injury victimsprotect their rights – and their ability to fully recover.
Silence Is Golden
Insurance companies will work to chip away at the claims they are paid premiums to coverin an effort to reduce any settlements. The insurance company is waiting and watching all forms of communication as part of their assessment. When a claimant posts something on social media, makes a comment to an insurance representative, makes a statement at the scene of the accident, or otherwise shares information, the insurance company will be looking to find any little inconsistency to twist the facts in order to lessen their responsibility to pay. A vacation photo posted on Instagram may be argued to be visual proof that one’s damages are not as serious as described. The bottom line is that insurance companies may attempt to twist the meaning of both words and media (such as videos and photographs), so injury victims should be mindful of what they do and say.
Not So Fast
Some insurance companies will offer a settlement before the claimant has had time to fully assess the extent of his or her damages. Many injury victims are understandably in panic mode after an accident. This is only natural – there is a lot at stake – and the insurance company is well aware of this fact. Unfortunately, once a claimant signs on the dotted line, the matter is finalized, and there are no further opportunities for obtaining compensation (even if the settlement amount was woefully inadequate). Injury victims who take the insurance company’s first offer, before fully understanding their rights and/or knowing the full extent of their injuries, often are not fully or fairly compensated for their injuries.
A settlement that does not address all of an injury victim’slosses and damages is a settlement offer that should not be accepted. Those injured as a result of someone else’s negligent or reckless conduct have a right to be fully and fairly compensated for such things as:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future lost income, and possibly loss of earning capacity
- Property damage
- Past and future physical pain and suffering
- Past and future emotional distress and/or anxiety
- Incidental Damages (such as costs of over the counter medications or home modifications to accommodate medical conditions or physical disabilities)
It is a good idea for accident victims not to accept a settlement offer before consulting with a personal injury attorney to make sure they fully understand their rights before accepting a settlement from an insurance company.
They Do Not Make It Easy
The insurance claims process for negligence-based accidents is complicated enough, to begin with, but insurance companies can make it so complicated that claimants are tempted to give up in frustration (and many do). When a claimant walks away, the insurance company’s profits are bolstered considerably, which helps to make this less-than-forthright practice especially appealing from the insurance company’s perspective. There are laws in place to help protect claimants from unreasonably long and complex claims processes, but without a knowledgeable personal injury attorney, it is difficult to hold insurance companies accountable.
Who Is At Fault?
Insurance companies are paid to cover damages caused by their policy holders’ negligence, so this motivates many to attempt to shift blame to the injured claimant. Because many claimants hold the mistaken belief that the insurance company holds all the cards and has the final say, they are tempted to give up as soon as an insurance company floats the idea that the claimant may be at fault. Accident victims can be vulnerable in all of the following ways:
- They are physically injured.
- They may be facing considerable medical expenses while experiencing decreased earnings.
- They are fighting for just compensation from an insurance company that may engage in less-than-honest practices.
Because accident victims are already in a vulnerable position, they may be more likely to accept an adverse insurance company’s allegations of fault. Claimants are well-advised not to admit any fault or to be duped into feeling guilty by the opposing insurance company. Fortunately, in Mississippi, claimants who do share a percentage of fault for accidents that leave them injured are not barred from seeking compensation for the percentage of damages that the other party is responsible for.
In review, sometips that personal injury claimant should take to heart include the following:
- A claimant should not comment on his or her claim (to the insurance company or to anyone else)or make social media postsprior to talking with a qualified personal injury attorney to fully understand his or her rights.
- A claimant should not accept an early settlement offer before consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney.
- A claimant should not give up in response to the insurance company’s delay or aggravating requests for additional information.
- A claimant should not accept blame just because the opposing insurance company says they should.
With these tips in hand and a dedicated personal injury attorney in their corner, personal injury claimants can move forward with increased confidence, greater purpose, and a much better chance of obtaining full and fair compensation that covers all of their harms and losses.
An Experienced Biloxi Personal Injury Attorney on Your Side
If someone else’s negligence leaves you injured in an accident, Christopher Van Cleave atVan Cleave Law in Biloxi, Mississsippi is an accomplished personal injury attorney with experience negotiating with insurance companies. Mr. Van Cleaveunderstands the difficulties you face and is committed to zealously advocating for your rights. We’re here to help, on your side, and ready to get started. Consultations are always free, and you can contact or call us at (228) 432-7826 if we may be of service.