In a perfect world, you would never be injured in a car accident. But since that’s obviously an impossibility, you might hope that, should you ever be seriously injured due to another driver’s negligence, your claim would be processed and covered without difficulty. But that’s often not the case either. While some claims may be handled quickly, there are many instances in which the injured party requires the assistance of an attorney to ensure that their rights are being protected. How do you know you need an attorney to help you with your car accident claim? Keep reading to find out.
Understanding Who’s Paying for Your Claim
Before we talk about the signs that you need an attorney, it’s important to understand exactly who your claim is actually against. An injury claim after a car accident is not the same as suing the driver who injured you; your claim actually goes to their insurance company, and it is the insurer who is responsible for processing and paying your claim. Knowing this can help you to better understand what you’re up against in these circumstances—namely, a large corporation whose primary goal is to maximize profits and minimize payouts. Now, let’s discuss how to tell if you need an attorney to help you take on that corporation.
They’re Delaying Your Claim and Dodging Questions
It’s generally accepted that things like insurance claims can take a while to process. Perhaps you’ve been exercising patience on that payout for some time. Every time you call the insurance company and ask about it, they seem to dodge your question and tell you that they’re “working on it” or some other similarly vague answer. This is a problem.
Insurance companies often use this tactic to effectually wear you down, hoping that forcing you to wait forever will make you more likely to accept a lowball settlement offer. Additionally, there is a statute of limitations on personal injury lawsuits. In Florida, that limit is four years. While this might seem like plenty of time, it’s not impossible for an insurance company draw out a claim until that statute has expired. Then, they can provide you with a very low offer, and you will have no legal recourse to pursue a lawsuit if they refuse to pay out more.
If the insurance company seems to be constantly delaying your claim, it’s a good sign that they’re stringing you along for their own purposes. When you bring an attorney to the table, however, they will typically get down to business much more quickly and start negotiating in earnest.
You Believe the Offer You Got Is Too Low
Sometimes, the opposite is true: The insurance company may very quickly offer you a settlement, but it might be much lower than what you were expecting. After a car accident, it can be difficult to get a firm grasp on the full extent of your injuries and the impact on your life. Insurance companies count on this fact, hoping that you will settle for far less than what you should be paid.
For example, perhaps you receive a settlement offer that would cover all of your medical expenses and the cost of a new car. Sounds pretty good, right? But what about your ongoing physical therapy, loss of wages from missed work, and your own pain and suffering? You may have to miss out on activities you enjoy, miss kids’ soccer games and dance recitals, or even be unable to get a full night’s sleep due to your injuries and subsequent pain. All of these factors, whether they come with a clear monetary value or not, should be taken into consideration when determining an acceptable settlement offer.
If an insurance company is trying to pressure you to accept a low settlement offer, and you believe that you are entitled to more, contact an attorney. We can help you determine a fair settlement and enter into firmer negotiations with the insurance company.
They’re Denying Your Claim
In some cases, an insurance company may deny a claim altogether, or deny that the driver they insure was fully responsible for your injuries. Typically, the police report can establish liability in a car accident. However, the insurance company may claim that you had an existing neck injury, and so your current pain and treatment is not their responsibility.
If your injury claim is being denied or delayed, or if the insurance company is lowballing you, contact The Harr Law Firm today. We’ll help you take on the insurance company to get the settlement you deserve and ensure that your rights and well-being are protected.