5 Things Auto Insurance Companies Don’t Want You To Know
When you’ve been hurt in an auto accident, handling a personal injury claim without an attorney often results in recovering little or no compensation. An insurance company’s top priority is to do everything it can to minimize your settlement or deny your claim altogether. To protect the company’s bottom line, an insurance adjuster uses a variety of tactics and keeps important auto insurance facts from you. Our personal injury attorneys at Moore Law Firm in Mobile, Alabama, understand the games insurance companies play, and they tell you what auto insurance companies don’t want you to know.
- 1. The Insurance Company Isn’t Your Friend
After an accident, the insurance company representing the other driver calls you about your claim. They want you to believe they’re your friend and are only trying to help you through a trying time, but they’re not on your side. A claims adjuster’s job is to protect the company from paying you any more than they have to by disputing or even denying your claim. You shouldn’t answer any questions the adjuster asks or sign anything until you’ve spoken to a personal injury attorney.
- 2. They Use Delaying Tactics
Insurance companies aren’t obligated to treat you fairly, and their priority is to try to get out of paying claims or limiting the amount they pay. A common tactic is to delay handling your claim. The purpose is to increase your worry overpaying your bills and make you more open to accepting whatever amount they offer.
Another ulterior motive of delaying payment on your claim is to run out the clock on your right to file a lawsuit. In Alabama, unless you’re a minor or you’ve been declared incompetent, you only have two years from the day of your car accident to file a personal injury claim. Once this statute of limitations expires, you lose your right to seek compensation through the courts.
- 3. Settlements Are Often Lowballed
Underpaying legitimate claims saves insurance companies billions of dollars. They know car accident victims are under a lot of stress as they worry about mounting medical bills and how they’re going to repair their car. They prey on this vulnerability to try to get you to settle quickly, minimizing the settlement amount. Insurance companies almost always offer a lowball settlement first, and these offers are frequently accepted because the claimant doesn’t have all the auto insurance facts. In Alabama, you can recover economic and noneconomic damages, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages, so don’t settle for less than you deserve.
- 4. You Don’t Have To Accept A Settlement
Many companies use a “Take It or Leave It” tactic to make you believe that their first settlement offer is the only offer you’re going to get, and if you don’t take it, you’re going to be left with nothing. This isn’t true. If the offer won’t even cover your current medical and car repair bills, turn it down. If you accept a settlement before the extent of injuries or bills are known, you may receive a much shorter amount than what you really need. Once you accept a settlement, you can’t get a second settlement to cover any leftover or new costs.
- 5. You Can Hire An Attorney Immediately
Insurance companies discourage you from hiring an attorney by trying to convince you that you don’t need one and that you’ll get way less money because of the attorney’s fee. They may also say you must wait to hire an attorney until they’ve had an opportunity to settle the claim first. You don’t have to wait to hire an attorney and should hire one immediately after your accident.
A personal injury attorney knows how to negotiate with insurance companies to get you a higher settlement than you would on your own. An attorney negotiates for the highest possible settlement, and even after they collect their fee, your settlement is still higher than what you would have received.
Get The Auto Insurance Facts
For more than 35 years, Moore Law Firm has helped clients who have suffered personal injuries in Mobile and throughout Alabama. Our personal injury attorneys provide individualized, straightforward legal representation and fight to help you recover the maximum compensation you deserve. We work on a contingency basis, so there’s no fee until we successfully win your settlement. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, contact us at 251-445-7602 for a free, no-obligation case evaluation today.