Can an Attorney Assist With Your Settlement?
When people embark on the insurance claims process, few think of consulting with a personal injury attorney. Many feel the insurance company will do what's right and compensate you appropriately. In reality, insurance companies typically do what's “right” in the eyes of the law but not necessarily what's right given the circumstances. People that handle their own insurance claim risk not being fully (and fairly) compensated for their damages. Now, small insurance claims don't always necessitate involving an attorney, but it's always worth your time to consult with one. Larger claims involving injury or property damage, however, present more opportunities for the insurance company to take advantage of you, so an attorney might be able to stop that and get you a bigger settlement. Here's how they do it.
Examine the Policy
An attorney can review an insurance policy and look for a few things. First, it's important to know what the policy limits are and what those limits mean. Policy limits give you an idea of the maximum compensation you can receive from a claim with that company. Knowing the policy limits is a good first step.
An attorney will also look through the policy fine print, which most policyholders skip over, and understandably so. Policy language can be very complex yet, at times, vague. This makes learning about your rights difficult. But, without a thorough understanding of the policy coverage and exclusions, you risk being taken advantage of. Don't take the adjuster at his or her word. Have an attorney read the policy and explain it to you.
Knowing what you have a right to won't help unless you can prove you are not liable. This can be difficult, especially considering the numerous maneuvers insurance companies use to deny liability. But proving liability is critical, so have an attorney help you with this step. Once you understand the policy and prove liability, your attorney can set to work crafting a picture of your experiences and damages and submitting a demand.
Guiding Your Recovery
Many claimants make the mistake of skimping on medical treatment. Not only does this send the message to the insurance company that you aren't as hurt as you claim, it reduces the value of your claim. An attorney can ensure you treat your injuries properly and all treatment is “reasonable and necessary,” which is the standard by which insurance companies compensate you. Insurance companies will not reimburse you for treatment that it does not consider reasonable or necessary, so consult with an attorney before you jump into alternative or elective treatment paths. Fully treating your injuries is the key to a fair settlement, so have an attorney help you on this journey.
Asking for What You Deserve
Your attorney will gather all the facts relevant to the accident and its aftermath to come to a specific amount you want to be compensated for. This typically starts with a review of your medical bills and records. Never release your medical records to the insurance company. Have an attorney help you submit a release that protects your interests, which will usually limit what records the company can access. Your attorney may also want to tally up your other incurred costs, such as lost wages and out of pocket costs for prescriptions.
In some cases, you might have a right to seek compensation for noneconomic damages, also called “pain and suffering.” When it comes to maximizing your settlement, this is a crucial step and also the one where an attorney can have the greatest impact. A pain and suffering component of a settlement can sometimes double the original settlement sum; so don't overlook this critical opportunity. An attorney can propose a pain and suffering figure that is fair to you and negotiate it with the insurance company.
A California personal injury attorney could potentially get you a fairer settlement than you could obtain alone. But numerous variables come into play when trying to settle a claim, and insurance companies have a variety of tactics up their sleeve used to deny claims. The good news is a personal injury attorney will know those variables inside and out and have worked with—and overcome—the tactics insurance companies use. This is why you should consider working with a California personal injury attorney. Having someone handle your claim for you may simply be a matter of convenience, but having an attorney advocate for you and fight for what you deserve is something that can be indispensable when trying to get fair compensation from Big Insurance.
Do you need help getting the compensation you deserve? Fresno area personal injury attorney Christopher Martens can help you protect your interests and rights while settling your claim. Attorney Christopher Martens has the skills and knowledge needed to help ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Serving the Visalia and Fresno areas, The Law Offices of Christopher Martens can provide knowledgeable personal injury claim guidance. Call our office at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] for a free consultation.