If you have been seriously injured in a car accident, motorcycle accident, tractor-trailer crash, dog bite, slip and fall or some other type of unfortunate event which was not your fault, then you very likely will need an experienced personal injury lawyer to fight the insurance company you will be facing.
Of course, the adversarial insurance company will not tell that you need a lawyer (as detailed below, they will probably try to discourage you from hiring one) and will want you to sign all sorts of forms and provide them with a statement about the event in which you were injured. However, the insurance company will not give you anything in return-except a hard time!
In fact, one question you can you can count on hearing from the opposing insurance adjuster is:
“Have you retained a lawyer?”
If you have not, then you will very likely hear something like this (because these adjusters are so well trained, you probably won’t hear the big sigh of relief on the other end of the phone):
“Well, that is good news. Just so you know, having a lawyer does not increase the value of your claim. In fact, if you get a lawyer, then you will lose one-third of your settlement, plus have to pay their costs. I am glad that you and I will be working this out without lawyers involved.”
The fact of the matter is that insurance companies hate it when you get lawyer to protect your rights throughout the claims process because these professional adjusters know that they will have to deal with someone who has equal or greater knowledge of the personal injury system.
They know that the lawyer will not let their client be taken advantage of.
They know that the injured person’s lawyer will not accept a “low ball” settlement offer.
They know that they will not be able to dupe the lawyer into settling the claim quickly and cheaply before the true nature and extent of the injuries are known.
They know that they will have to pay fair value for the claim or else risk having to go to Court.
Over the last several years, data has been compiled, which demonstrates that injured people with lawyers obtain vastly greater settlement amounts than unrepresented persons.
Additionally, by involving a lawyer early on in the claims process, many of the “pitfalls” or “traps” used by the insurance adjusters can be successfully avoided.
Finally, experienced personal injury lawyers can ensure the client that all available resources for recovery are utilized to their maximum extent, which means that the insurance companies will be forced to treat the injured person’s claim more seriously and ultimately offer to settle at a higher value than without such an experienced attorney involved on behalf of the claimant.
In addition to the reasons why insurance companies hate it when you retain a lawyer, which were outlined in the last section, these companies REALLY get anxious when they learn that you have hired an attorney who has done insurance work.
This type of scenario (that is, facing a former insurance lawyer) is so unsettling for insurance companies because it is very much like a professional sports team having to go up against one of its former coaches who already knows and has well-crafted reactions for all of his prior team’s strategies, tricks and plays!
When the insurance adjusters handling your claim discover that they are going up against a lawyer with an insurance background, they are forced to throw away their normal “playbook” because they understand that the lawyer facing them understands all of their tricks and tactics.
They further realize that they are facing a lawyer who will not commit many of the errors that lots of typical personal injury lawyers (without experience on both side of the process) routinely make.
So remember, if you have been hurt due to the fault of another, then you should speak with an attorney who used to represent insurance companies. The insurance company opposing you will hate it and you will be protected from the insurance tricks which result in injured people being taken advantage of!
James Parrish is a former insurance defense lawyer who now represents injured persons against the insurance industry. He uses the “Inside Information” he learned while defending insurance companies to the advantage of his clients and has recovered millions of dollars in judgments and settlements for them.