Like most businesses, insurance companies exist to make money. The simple fact is that the less money it pays out to settle claims, the better an insurance company’s profit margins are. For something like a minor fender bender, it may be in one’s best interests to deal directly with the insurance company. Property damage assessment is fairly standardized within the auto industry, and is oftentimes based on a quote from an auto body shop or an insurance agency representative. A claims adjuster may offer you fair compensation, just to avoid dragging out the case and incurring further expense to his employer. However, when your claim involves significant personal injury, the case becomes much more complicated.
In response to a personal injury claim, an insurance company may offer a sum of money up front, wanting to settle the claim immediately. If the victim has no legal representation, and, likely, little knowledge of the value of the personal injury claim, it is doubtful that the adjuster will make a reasonable offer. The insurance company is hoping that the claimant will take the money and absolve them of any additional financial responsibility. Once a claim has been settled, the claimant has legally released the defendant from further payment, even if the victim’s condition worsens.
A personal injury attorney is there to protect the interests of the client. An experienced lawyer, especially one who concentrates on personal injury law, has years of experience in the field and has a good idea of what a given claim should be worth. The personal injury attorney can collect evidence to support the case, file the necessary paperwork, and speak directly with the insurance companies or opposing lawyers. Perhaps most importantly, hiring a personal injury attorney lets the insurance companies know that the claimant is serious. A personal injury lawyer represents the threat of a costly lawsuit, which the insurance company wants to avoid. Most personal injury cases will be resolved by a settlement rather than going to court. On the other hand, a personal injury attorney should be prepared to take the case to trial if a fair personal injury settlement is not reached; otherwise, the adjuster won’t respect the threat of a lawsuit.