Car insurance is something you pay for but hope to never need to use. Unfortunately, some people have to make major claims eventually against their own policies or the policies of other drivers who causes accidents. Regardless of which driver is responsible for a collision, insurance companies will play an important role in handling the medical expenses and property damages that result from the crash.
Still, quite a few people who have diligently paid for their policies their entire lives and who drive safely may find themselves dealing with insurance adjusters that don't respect the real costs of the crash.
That is why it is so important for drivers who need to file a major insurance claim or who have received a settlement offer related to a recent crash to partner with an experienced personal injury attorney. There are three reasons to consider working with an attorney after receiving a settlement offer.
An attorney can help you make an official statement
Insurance companies often require written or recorded statements from the victims of major collisions. Usually, the statement process involves at least one employee of the insurance company asking questions. If the police have already determined that the other driver was responsible, you may feel like there is no risk in giving a recorded statement.
However, insurance professionals receive special training on how to lead you into admitting guilt. Anything from apologizing to acknowledging that you may not have been looking at the road right when the crash happened could impact the amount of compensation you receive because of comparative fault, a form of shared liability.
Even if the other driver is clearly at fault, the insurance company may attempt to make you admit some degree of culpability which can then reduce the amount of compensation you receive. An attorney can help you avoid saying anything that could hurt your claim.
Attorneys understand what your claim is really worth
The chances are good that you've never been in a serious car crash before, so you may not truly understand the financial value of your claim. Generally, you should receive compensation to cover your medical expenses, lost wages and property damage. You need to look at all of the current expenses and also potential future expenses.
It can be hard to put a price tag on the consequences of a crash, but that is something that an experienced personal injury attorney knows how to do. They can advise you if the settlement offer is far too low and provide you with an idea of what reasonable compensation would look like in your situation.
Your lawyer can negotiate for better terms
The understanding of the legal code and the ability to skillfully negotiate are a big part of the professional skill-set you expect from an attorney.
If you receive an underwhelming settlement that doesn't truly cover your costs, your attorney can help you counter the initial offer and negotiate with the insurance company for a better offer. If one is not forthcoming, your lawyer can also help you file a civil lawsuit against the at-dault driver's insurance company if the claim denial was made in bad faith.