Insurance companies are not your friends…absolutely not! The risks of sharing information with them are endless. They will befriend you and gain your trust. They will give you a false sense of confidence to achieve the lowest possible settlement and move on to the next injured party.
Insurance companies will use every word you say against you. This was demonstrated in a recent case where a woman claimed she canceled insurance and then re-activated it during the same telephone conversation. The cancellation of the vehicle in issue was saved by their answering machine, but the reactivation of the vehicle was not, only the part relevant to the insurance company’s argument was recorded. We have proof from phone records that the phone conversation lasted 20 minutes, but the insurance company offered less than five minutes of conversation to support their position that the insurance policy was canceled. So, that raises the question…what happened during the other 15+ minutes?
If the insurance company offers an initial settlement upfront, you should never accept it. It’s probably the worst offer you can get. They are making you an offer before you hire an attorney to try to get off cheap.
After you hire an attorney, in the unusual circumstance that a reasonable settlement can’t be established, your case will go to trial. Either side has the right to request a jury. A jury or a judge will decide how much you will get compensated for all the different elements of a personal injury case.
What You Can Do to Support Your Case?
To demonstrate the elements of your case, keep a daily log or diary of important details. Document treatments, how you feel, progress made, and your level of pain. These elements will determine how much compensation you should receive.
It’s always best to follow the recommendations for treatments as prescribed by a doctor. For example, whether to see a specialist, a therapist, or a neurologist. Following the recommendations supports the legitimacy of the complaint.
If you are not getting treatment for your injuries, in the insurance company’s mind that injury doesn’t exist. Again, they assume that if you are injured you are going to seek medical attention. So, if you are injured and directed to receive physical therapy, or chiropractic treatment, three days a week, you must religiously get that treatment to support the legitimacy of your damages.
These details will factor into the calculation of the damages you are owed. Every jurisdiction or county views damages and injuries differently, but some of the factors used to calculate damages may be the age of the plaintiff, the seriousness of the injury, and elements specific to your personal injury.
Hire the Right Attorney
It is very important to have an attorney who is familiar with personal injury claims in your area. They will do the requisite research and find out which claims yield the highest recovery in which jurisdiction. In New York, sometimes you have a choice of forums, whether it be Suffolk County or Brooklyn. The attorney will guide you and tell you the pros and cons of bringing your lawsuit in either jurisdiction, where it might qualify, and where you might reap the highest rewards for your injury.
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