A Denver Car Accident Lawyer Explains Dealing with Insurance Companies
When you are injured in an auto accident caused by someone else's negligence, you will likely pursue compensation for your damages. In most cases, that means dealing with the at-fault driver's insurance company. Insurance adjusters will try to make you believe they have your best interests in mind, but that's not the case at all. That is why many accident victims hire experienced Denver car accident lawyers to protect their rights.
Insurance Companies Might Try to Get You to Settle Quickly
Depending on the severity of your injuries, the insurance company might try to get you to settle early on in the claims process. They often do this when they suspect you may have additional treatment in the future. When you agree to resolve your claim, the insurance company will require that you sign a release of all claims. That release protects them from paying you additional compensation if you later discover you need more medical treatment. You should never sign a release without first reviewing it with an attorney.
Insurance Companies May Tell You to Avoid Using an Attorney
Insurance adjusters will likely encourage you not to retain an attorney. They will tell you that you will receive less money if you get an attorney because of hourly legal fees and costs. However, car accident attorneys usually work on a contingency fee basis. That means you won't pay anything in fees unless they successfully recover compensation on your behalf.
Insurance adjusters might argue that retaining an attorney won't change the claim valuation. However, attorneys can often negotiate higher settlements than unrepresented claimants do. Insurance companies don't want you to hire an attorney because we know the tactics and tricks they use to undervalue and unfairly deny claims.
Insurance Companies May Try to Get You to Give a Recorded Statement
One of the first things the other party's insurance will ask for is a recorded statement. You should never give a recorded statement without attorney representation. Anything you say on that statement could be used against you in the claims process. Insurance adjusters hope you will make a mistake and say something that will allow them to either deny your claim outright or reduce your overall claim value.
Insurance Companies Will Try to Undervalue Your Claim
When you let an insurance adjuster value your claim, the settlement value they suggest will almost always be much lower than your case is really worth. They will try to reduce the number of your treatments or suggest the billing rate is too high. Adjusters often argue that you didn't need to take so many days off work or that your pain and suffering is not worth what you're asking.
If the insurance company suggests you see their doctor, politely decline. You are under no obligation to see their preferred medical providers with a car accident claim. They hope to send you to one of their defense experts who will say your injuries weren't that serious.
Insurance Companies Want You to Admit Fault
Don't ever admit any fault, as insurance companies will focus on that to either deny your claim outright or reduce the value. Even saying something as simple as "I'm sorry," can be deemed an admission of guilt. That can have a significant impact on your case, depending on what state's laws apply. Colorado, for example, is a modified comparative negligence state. That means you could collect a portion of your damages if you are under 50% at fault. However, some states still use contributory negligence. Contributory negligence says that if you are even 1% at fault, you collect nothing.
As an injured victim, dealing with a personal injury claim can be complicated. Rather than putting your settlement at risk, let someone else protect your rights. When you have an accident attorney representing you, the attorney will handle all communication and negotiations with the insurance company. That allows you to focus on your recovery, not the stress of your personal injury claim.
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