Understand the Dangers of Negotiating With The Insurance Company On Your Own
We often get clients into our office who have attempted to negotiate their case directly with the insurance company. They have come to us usually to see if they are being treated fairly or getting a raw deal. Some of the things we hear from them are unbelievable.
I hear something like this from the local community often: “But Joe, after my car accident, I thought the insurance company would take care of me and my family.” The short answer is the insurance company doesn’t care about you, your family, or your health. An insurance company is in the business of making money. And, making money often means not paying injury victims, and limiting the rights of their insureds (just take one look at your insurance policy).
The big insurance companies have billions of dollars and they want more.
Act Quickly to Protect Your Right to a Fair Car Accident Recovery
I recently talked with a father who was involved in a severe car accident with his wife and several children. This out-of-state family was driving on I-24 in Rutherford County when the husband and wife sustained serious injuries from a car accident that wasn’t their fault. The family spent a full year “talking” with the negligent driver’s insurance company. After the one year anniversary of the motor vehicle accident passed the insurance company told the father his claim was dead and they weren’t paying a dime.
The father called me confused and distraught. Could it really be that the insurance company dragged the claim along and didn’t tell him about the one-year statute of limitations on personal injury actions?
After hearing his story, it was very difficult for me to tell him that, yes, his claim was extinguished. For the most part, in Tennessee, you only have one year from the date of a car accident to file a lawsuit. If you do not file a lawsuit, or otherwise resolve your claim, the claim is over. The insurance company has no duty to pay you and you have no recourse. Unfortunately, the father and his wife can’t get compensation for their injuries, lost wages, pain and suffering, or lost enjoyment of life. The devastated father said to me “I thought they were gonna take care of us.”
Ways The Insurance Company Will Mislead You
For example, we have heard from many that they are told by the insurance company representative that their insurance company does not pay for pain and suffering. We have heard stories where insurance adjusters have said they will not pay for physical therapy or chiropractic treatment. These things are all untrue.
In one case, we actually had a client tell us the insurance company, just after the accident, said we will offer a small sum. The client told the insurance company that he was hurt and needed to go to the doctor. The insurance company said that is what the money is for to go to the doctor. This is again untrue. If our client had taken the offer at that time, he would have had to pay thousands of dollars out of his own pocket for his treatment. Once you sign the release and agree to a settlement, the insurance company owes you nothing more.
Other Ways Insurance Companies Trick You
Also, if you have paid for medical coverage through your own health insurance, you may owe your health insurance company reimbursement from an injury settlement. Many people are unaware of this. Say for example, your health insurer is owed $5000.00 for medical bills it paid on your behalf. If the insurance company offers you $5000.00 to settle the case, theoretically you have settled your case for $0.00 as you will have to repay the entire $5000.00 to the health insurer. The car insurance company will not tell you this.
So the chief danger in negotiating your own case is not knowing what you do not know. You are in a world where you are not familiar with the rules and the other side is. You need to know what damages you can claim and be compensated for, the total medical bills you have, and does your health insurer have a right to subrogation as just a few examples.
Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer ASAP
Insurance companies are always looking for ways not to pay car accident claims and limit their exposure. One way auto insurance carriers try to make injury victims go away early on in the claims process is to offer to pay medical bills up to a certain dollar amount for any medical bills the injury victim incurs for the next six (6) months. Then the sneaky insurance person will offer to pay the injury victim a nominal amount of money (maybe $1,000.00) to completely settle their claim. This insurance company trick is just one way insurance companies try to take advantage of injury victims and their families.
This car insurance company trick starts with them pretending to be on your side by “helping” to pay the medical bills, while offering a tiny sum of money to completely settle the case. Do not get taken advantage of by the insurance company. Injury victims should always talk to an injury attorney to learn what their rights are after a car accident.
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