Being involved in a serious accident can be an incredibly traumatic experience. Accident victims must deal with what is often a lengthy physical recovery, all while worrying about being unable to work and the resulting decrease in income. On top of that, accident victims often miss out on spending time with loved ones and pursuing the activities they used to enjoy. Accident victims may be able to obtain compensation for their injuries through a personal injury lawsuit; however, the recovery process is often overwhelming — especially when dealing with difficult insurance companies.
Insurance companies will frequently try to take advantage of accident victims while they are at their most vulnerable. Yet dealing with insurance companies after an accident is an inevitable part of the recovery process. Having the assistance of an experienced personal injury lawyer can significantly ease an accident victim’s burdens, allowing them to focus on their recovery.
Insurance Is the Primary Source of Compensation for Most Accident Victims
When someone negligently causes injury to another, they may be held responsible for any damages suffered by the injured party. However, in the majority of cases, an insurance company will be the party responsible for actually paying for the accident victim’s injuries.
For example, if a negligent truck driver causes an accident, that driver’s auto insurance policy will likely cover the accident. If so, then the insurance company steps into the shoes of the truck driver. Thus, the injured party will present a claim for damages to the insurance company, which then will decide whether to approve the claim, return with a counteroffer, or deny the claim.
If an insurance claim is denied, the injured party may file a personal injury lawsuit against the truck driver. Again, because the insurance company is contractually obligated to defend the truck driver, the insurance company will end up defending the case.
Dealing With More Than One Insurance Company
Insurance laws vary by state, with some states using a fault-based system and others using a system that primarily relies on motorist’s own Personal Injury Protection coverage. Regardless of a specific state’s laws, in many accidents, multiple insurance companies will be involved.
An insurance policy is a contract in which the insurance company agrees to cover certain covered costs in exchange for a monthly premium paid by the insured. However, an insurance policy may require the insured to follow certain steps before the company will agree to provide coverage. For example, insurance policies require motorists to report all accidents to the insurance company – even accidents that were not caused by the insured. Thus, it is crucial that a motorist promptly report an accident to their insurance company.
Even if another driver was at fault, there might be certain benefits that the accident victim wants to claim under their auto insurance policy. For example, if the at-fault driver does not have sufficient insurance coverage, the accident victim may end up filing an underinsured motorist claim with their insurance company.
Interacting With Another Party’s Insurance Company
The very purpose of insurance is to ensure that someone injured by the insured’s negligent actions has a way to obtain compensation for their injuries. However, in reality, insurance companies rarely provide accident victims with the compensation they deserve without some convincing.
Insurance companies are for-profit companies. Thus, an insurance company relies on taking in more money each month through monthly premiums than it pays out in approved claims. As a result, insurance companies often try to reach out to an accident victim early on in the process in an attempt to get them to settle the case for as little as possible.
For example, assume that customer slips and falls on a puddle of liquid while shopping at a grocery store. The grocery store will report the incident to their insurance company. In turn, the insurance company may then reach out to the customer, offering them a sum of money if they agree not to pursue a personal injury case against the grocery store. However, the amount offered is typically only a fraction of what the customer’s damages are. Unfortunately, too often, accident victims accept these low-ball offers because they are unfamiliar with the process or in desperate need of money following an accident.
Accident victims have another alternative, however. By working with an experienced personal injury attorney, an accident victim can ensure that they are not taken advantage of by an insurance company. A dedicated injury advocate can not only evaluate the strength of an accident victim’s case and provide them with invaluable advice, but they can also advocate on behalf of the accident victim in negotiations with the insurance company.