If you have been injured by someone else and are not represented by an attorney, be careful. Insurance companies are big business with billions of dollars. They have no problem taking advantage of unrepresented, emotionally stressed, or injured individuals. Nor do they care about your pain and suffering. Insurance companies are more than ready to offer small settlements of money in exchange for a release from current and future liability. An experienced personal injury attorney devotes his life to opposing such debilitating measures. They strive to ensure that your health is restored, your medical bills are paid, you are compensated for any wages you lost, and that any emotional strain, pain, and suffering you had to endure is fully compensated for.
Be careful answering questions or making statements to insurance companies. Many times those statements are recorded and the questions may be set-up to try and find fault on your part. Insurance employees are trained, experienced, and do this every day. Insurance companies are in the right when they are weeding out fraudulent claims but they can be deceitful when they misrepresent policy limits, advise individuals that attorneys are out to take a large portion of their settlement, or lie about property and injury claim procedures. One of the benefits about hiring a personal injury attorney is that you do not have to communicate with the insurance company. As soon as you hire an attorney to represent you, all correspondence goes through the attorney and the insurance companies should leave you alone. If you do have an attorney, and the insurance company still calls you, simply tell them that you are represented and that they need to talk to your attorney.
Additionally, be leery of anyone who is trying to get you to sign waivers, settlement offers, or agreements of any kind, whether they are investigators, other attorneys, or your clergy. Most reputable attorneys offer a free consultation and will be more than happy to met with you and evaluate what options you have and to give you advice on common pitfalls. Moreover, don’t feel pressured to sign with any one particular attorney; wait and pick an attorney you feel comfortable with and who will represent your interests and be with you every step of the way.
In summary, if you are offered a settlement offer from the insurance company and you are unsure whether or not the amount is sufficient or fair, consult with a personal injury attorney and they can advise you regarding the normal settlement ranges for cases like yours. Ultimately, if you feel that the offer is fair, then you should take it. But, if you have any feeling that you are not being fairly dealt with, seek some help. Remember it’s usually free to meet with an attorney to discuss this matter so there is little risk for you.