Auto accidents can be painful and frustrating experiences. Accident victims often suffer significant injuries or even death in many instances. The personal pain associated with a car accident is enough, but dealing with the respondent insurance company can be a continuation of the difficulties. Insurance companies are in business to make money and the less they are required to pay injured victims with valid claims, the more the company benefits. This is why insurance adjusters are diligent and focused in investigating personal injury claims following a crash, as they are trained professional negotiators operating according to company policy in denying or lessening the value of all accident injury claims. When the insurance company is acting meticulous, it is always the right time to find an experienced personal injury attorney who understands their tactics. Technicalities matter in auto accident injury cases, and they look for every available legal defense issue. You attorney will realize when this is happening.
Avoiding a Low Ball Offer
When an injury is obviously valid, insurance companies often attempt to settle a claim quickly for a lower amount when they think the claimant will not be retaining an attorney. This will, of course, also include a full medical release for further medical coverage, which relieves the company of any further legal requirement. This potential is why and when it is absolutely necessary to seek legal counsel and professional representation. Insurance companies who are found to be bargaining deceptively could be determined as a bad faith insurance company, which could result in a separate lawsuit or punitive award from a sympathetic jury in a full trial case. If the insurance provider is quick to want a settlement, always consult with an experienced attorney before signing anything.
Financial damages resulting from accident injury claims can vary greatly based on the material case factors and the official accident report. The severity of injury and the amount of time lost from work are always central components of an accident claim, as well as medical bill recovery. These are called economic compensatory damages and can be calculated based on documentation provided in a legal filing. Damages for pain and suffering are considered non-economic damages, but are usually the most contentious discussion point in arriving at a settlement to avoid taking a personal injury accident claim to court. Punitive damages could be available also when a driver is found guilty of gross negligence or illegal behavior at the time of the crash. This is especially true in wrongful death cases resulting from an accident fatality. These financial damages can only be awarded by a jury, but the potential for punitive award can be used as bargaining leverage by an aggressive personal injury attorney who wants whole damages for their client.
Damage Limitations by Comparative Negligence
Every state uses some form of comparative negligence law when assessing financial damages in an auto accident personal injury case. Three states and the District of Columbia use “pure” contributory negligence that says that injured parties cannot sue for damages if they have even 1% contribution to the accident. Some states use “modified” comparative negligence at either the 50 or 51% denial bar for receiving damages when an injured driver’s comparative negligence percentage is over half. The rest of the states use “pure” contributory negligence law that allows denial only for those totally at fault for their accident injuries. Percentages are determined ultimately by a jury when a case goes to trial, but they are central arguments when negotiating a final personal injury settlement. Insurance claims adjusters continually use this bargaining tool to lessen the value of a claim by increasing the comparative fault percentage of the claimant driver. This is often where a personal injury lawyer works hardest, as it is by no means a scientific process like calculating economic compensatory damages.
Serious Accidents Resulting in Permanent Disability
It is important to have an attorney in accidents that result in personal long-term disability even when the injury is recoverable to a certain degree. Many auto accident victims will be unable to return to their previous employment following a serious wreck.
Even when a claimant is not permanently injured, if they cannot return to former employment, they can be compensated for any pay reduction over the long-term. These cases are always high-value cases that are strongly defended when a settlement is being finalized, and your personal injury attorney will be working for as much compensation as possible. Many personal injury attorneys also handle disability claims as well as workers compensation claims when the accident occurs on the job. It is an advantage to have an attorney who has handled both aspects of an auto accident personal injury case because they know all of the material facts and understand the physical limitations as a result of the original accident claim.
It is clear that attempting to handle a serious auto accident claim should never be done by a novice injured victim. Claims may be much more valuable than non-professionals realize and cases can be intensely complicated and contested, especially when they involve a large financial settlement. Always retain an experienced auto accident attorney when injuries are serious, and make sure to at least consult with an attorney even when a case appears as a simple filing and payment process. Let a legal professional investigate the potential value of your injury claim and do not let the insurance company sweep you under the rug quickly.