Insurance companies are not necessarily bad or evil, but they are not known for their fairness in paying injury claims.
However, most injured victims still wait around for the company to be fair with them. It seems right to do this. After all, if you are not exaggerating your injuries (called “gold-bricking”) and not trying to get rich, they should be fair-shouldn’t they? Why shouldn’t you wait for few months to see what they will do?
Unfortunately, insurance company adjusters often wait until the last minute, and then make a low ball offer. You then must change your whole game plan- you must either take the offer, or go out and shop for lawyer in the last days before your statute of limitations runs out.
I know it seems unreasonable, and maybe unseemly, to hire a lawyer early in an injury claim, before giving the adjuster a chance to settle with you.
But, I strongly recommend you do so, based on prior experience. I have seen maybe four good offers made without an attorney involved, and I have seen hundreds and hundreds of low ball offers. Think of the odds.
Most of the time, one way or the other, those injured will choose a lawyer to help them, but the earlier the better.
One other benefit of hiring a lawyer early is to avoid contact with the insurance company and their need for all your personal information, work records and medical records. Also, they will often try and tape record your statement before you are even off your pain medications.
Always remember, they are not on your side. There are some very nice adjusters out there. But, they often get rated on their ability to get you to take less. By contrast, injury attorneys like me get paid more, only if we get you more.
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