By William Bill Hurst
If you’ve been hurt in an accident where someone is at fault, his/her insurance company does not want you to hire a personal injury lawyer. It is because the insurance adjuster knows he/she will have to pay larger “fairer” insurance settlement amounts to resolve the personal injury accident case. The Insurance Research Council found that insurance settlements were 4.8 times higher for injured victims in accidents when represented by personal injury lawyers. (Insurance Research Council 1999 study) www.ircweb.org/ and after payment of attorney fees the injured person receives 3.28 times more than the person who does not have a lawyer.
The Insurance Research Council found that insurance injury claims arising out of accidents where the plaintiffs were represented by attorneys represented only 40% off all claimants, yet they received 79% of all money paid out for liability insurance settlements. These statistics show that having a personal injury attorney on your side when you’ve been injured in an accident greatly increases your chance of receiving fair compensation for your injury [Interestingly the Insurance Research Council is funded by insurance companies www.alcpcu.org/irc/.
For an interesting investigatory CNN article which chronicles the strategies that the insurance companies use to minimize their payments for injury cases, see “insurance companies fight paying claims” (Anderson Cooper 360 blog) at www.CNN.com. An investigation by CNN revealed that 10 out of the top 12 auto insurance companies are putting injured claimants in a financial bind forcing them to settle for sums of money which are not fair. The example given by CNN was of a case where a woman was in a minor auto accident which was not her fault. Her medical bills and loss wages totaled $25,000 and Allstate who insured the wrongdoer offered $15,000. This person could try to find a personal injury lawyer, but was worried about whether she could find an injury lawyer who was willing to take on her case and what she receive after cost of expenses of hiring an attorney. This was the final mindset that Allstate and a number of other major carriers in America are currently pursuing to create an environment to minimized their payments to settle injury claims.
If you are in a minor impact/crash, get hurt and do not have a very substantial injury or claim it is likely that the insurance carrier will do the same thing to you. The insurance company will delay handling your claim, deny you were hurt to the extent that you actually are, and defend their decision in a drawn out court battle. It is what they call their 3 D’s; Delay, Deny and Defend.” With no where for the injured victim to go, Allstate and other insurance carriers “bet you’ll take what they offer and walk away”. Apparently this is the procedure set forth in the insurance companies training manuals, which CNN obtained. They call them “smaller walk away settlements”. Insurance carriers are betting you won’t wait, you won’t sue and you’ll take what you can get and “walk away.” Apparently accident victims have been “walking away” from billions of dollars that the insurance companies now keep for themselves. Unless you are willing to forgo being treated fairly, you must hire a personal injury lawyer who is experienced and knowledgeable about these insurance tactics. If you have been injured in an accident and are having problems with he insurance company claims adjuster, contact William W. Hurst, a lawyer experienced in dealing with insurance companies for a free consultation and case evaluation.