Many times a client will be offered something by an insurance company prior to hiring me.
The other day I met with a new client who had been offered $1000 pain and suffering for an accident that happened only about six days before.
The client was still hurting and had not even had a full complement of tests yet. But the insurance company pushed and said they could deposit the money directly in the person’s account within 72 hours. I imagine having $1000 you may not have been expecting deposited into your account could be tempting for the average person.
Obviously, it works at least some because the insurance companies are trying these tactics now. They know if they can get you to sign a release early in the case prior to meeting with an attorney, you will not get the medical treatment nor the legal advice that it will take to fairly present your case.
And even though you hire an attorney, there is still only a very low chance of actually going to trial. Good cases that are well worked up seem to settle fairly well. Sometimes mediations are handy to sort out issues and they often resolve cases. Further discovery such as doctors’ depositions usually remove the doubt as to the client’s injuries.
As such, I can encourage you to seek legal advice following an accident that requires medical care. If it’s a fender bender in the parking lot and no one is hurt that’s fine. But if you have to spend time sleeping in a recliner, popping pills, hobbling around and worrying about missing work, that’s not your fault. That’s what insurance is there for. But sometimes they need help to see the value of your case. And if you choose to represent yourself don’t be surprised if you get settlement offers that are not only low but also make no effort at all to fully compensate what has happened to you. The lowest level adjuster that you’re dealing with is often only authorized to offer up to $1500 pain and suffering regardless of what your medical bills or other expenses are.
A concerned attorney will encourage you to seek treatment until you are feeling much better and then help you recover some of the losses from the accident. And although no one can guarantee any results in any specific case, the insurance companies actions show that they understand that attorneys cost them quite a bit more money. If they were being fair they would encourage you to go to an attorney and have their offer professionally reviewed.
Every now and then an insurance company makes a pretty fair offer. It’s about the same rarity as the Congress making a great decision so don’t count on it!