When you’re injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you should be able to file a claim against the negligent party’s insurance company. They’re usually responsible for your medical bills, lost wages, mental health bills, pain and suffering and related damages.
What most people don’t realize is that insurance companies have a vested interest in paying as little as possible. While insurance companies use a formula to calculate how much to offer, you’ll often receive an initial lowball offer. How do insurance companies come up with that number, and how can you ensure that you get a reasonable one?
The Claim and Investigation
When you file a claim against someone else’s insurance company, it’s called a third-party claim. The insurance company will ask you for a statement—but they’ll also talk to the policyholder and read any accident report that was filed with the police, property manager or other applicable party.
Once they’ve heard from both you and the policyholder, they’ll start investigating the injured party. They want to know if you’ve ever filed a personal injury claim before, and will look to see if they can dig up dirt on you. That’s why attorneys advise their clients to stay off social media during the case. Even innocent posts can make it appear that your injuries are not as bad as you claim.
Next, the claims adjuster will request documentation of all the expenses: property damage, medical bills, lost wages and more. They’ll continue to look for reasons to lower their settlement offer, such as preexisting injuries and “unnecessary” treatments.
Finally, the adjuster will come up with a number. For many expenses, this is just a matter of doing simple math. For more nebulous damages, like pain and suffering, they’ll consider how likely a plaintiff is to win at trial and how much a jury might award. Most insurance companies do this with a special software program.
After the claim is investigated and the damages calculated, the insurance company will make an offer. This is usually a lowball offer—which is why it’s so important to have a personal injury attorney help you negotiate with the company. There’s no reason you should settle for less than your claim is worth, and lawyers are experienced in dealing with claims adjusters. They’ll know whether you’re being cheated out of rightful compensation, and make sure you get what you need.
Dealing with Insurance Companies? Discuss Your Case with an Ohio Personal Injury Lawyer
Don’t accept lowball settlement offers. Even if it looks like a lot of money to you, it might not be sufficient to cover your long-term injuries. I’ll Make Them Pay!® Call me today at 877.614.9524 for a consultation, and we’ll work to get what you deserve.