If you have been injured in a motor vehicle or other type of accident that was caused by someone else's negligence, you will likely be dealing with insurance companies and their adjusters, either directly or indirectly. In most personal injury cases, the negligent driver's insurance company handles the purse strings when it comes to settlements and settlement offers.
It is important to understand that in a personal injury case, the defendant's insurance company is not on your side. The insurance company's goal is to keep as much of its money in-house as possible – not to offer you top dollar for your personal injuries and damages. While insurance adjusters may seem friendly and nice on the phone, it is important to remember that they are not representing you or advocating for you. Therefore, it is essential that you have an experienced Florida personal injury attorney on your side every step of the way.
A personal injury lawyer will know and understand the insurance company's secret tricks and tactics will be able to negotiate on your behalf and can help you to maximize the settlement value of your case. If the insurance company is still unwilling to place a good settlement offer on the table, our experienced attorneys do not shy away from litigating cases or taking them to trial, if necessary.
Here are some insider secrets regarding insurance companies that may come as a surprise.
The Insurance Company's Initial Settlement Offer is Way under Value
After you have completed all of your medical treatment and submitted copies of all of your medical records and bills, insurance company adjusters usually place initial settlement offers on the table, in order to try and settle a case quickly and cheaply. In the vast majority of personal injury cases, these initial offers are extraordinarily low and are far less than the case is actually worth. You should think long and hard about accepting an initial settlement offer, and your attorney will be able to recommend whether it is advisable to accept such an offer.
In many cases, it makes sense to simply file a lawsuit with the Florida court system in order to provoke a reaction from the insurance company – and hopefully, force the adjuster to take the case seriously and place a better settlement offer on the table. You should also keep in mind that merely filing a complaint with the court and beginning the litigation process does not guarantee that your case will be tried in court, as a personal injury case may be settled at any point along the line.
The Venue Where the Accident Happened is Important
Believe it or not, the insurance company considers the location (or venue) where your case is pending, and this can have a significant impact on the value of your case – and on whether or not you should accept a settlement offer. In some cases, there is a choice of venue as to where a lawsuit may be filed.
An Clearwater personal injury attorney will know which venues are more "plaintiff friendly" based upon previous trial experiences in factually similar cases. The same case may be worth more in one jurisdiction than in another. Insurance companies are very well aware of which venues are “plaintiff friendly” or “plaintiff-unfriendly,” and they will adjust their settlement offers accordingly. Depending upon where your case is pending, you may be better off accepting a settlement offer than rolling the dice and proceeding forward to trial. In other venues, you may have a better chance of maximizing your recovery at trial.
Recorded Statements Can be damaging to a Plaintiff's Case
In many cases, after you report a claim, the defendant's insurance company will ask you to agree to give a recorded statement. Recorded statements are taken by insurance company adjusters and are usually composed of questions about how the accident happened, as well as the injured plaintiff's complaints, injuries, damages, and medical treatment.
You should never agree to unilaterally provide a recorded statement to the defendant's insurance company. This is because anything that you say during the recorded statement, including admissions of fault or negligence, can be used against you later on in your case. Therefore, if an insurance adjuster asks you to agree to take a recorded statement, you should insist on the presence of legal counsel during the statement.
Prior Injuries and Preexisting Conditions Can Be Problematic
In a personal injury case, the defense attorney (who is indirectly working for the defendant's insurance company) will likely subpoena an injured plaintiff's past medical records. When the injured plaintiff has prior injuries and preexisting medical conditions related to the body parts injured in the current accident, and these conditions are noted in the plaintiff's prior medical records, the defense attorney (and the insurance company) will take note. Adjusters will also take note of degenerative changes and findings on past or current imaging studies, such as x-rays and MRI's.
Even when a personal injury plaintiff has prior medical conditions or preexisting injuries, the injured plaintiff may still be able to recover compensation for those injuries if the accident worsened the plaintiff's conditions or exacerbated the plaintiff's degenerative changes. Achey personal injury lawyer will be able to help you downplay the negative aspects of your case and help you to maximize its settlement or verdict value.
Social Media Postings Are Relevant to a Personal Injury Case
After you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, it is important that you be aware of your postings on social media websites, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Whenever a claim is filed, insurance companies and their adjusters routinely check the injured plaintiff's profiles on these sites and review their content – including all posted photographs and videos.
If you are claiming serious personal injuries, and you have recent photographs or videos on social media which show you engaging in strenuous physical activity, for example, those photographs and videos can have a serious negative impact on the value of your case.
Contact an Experienced Clearwater Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you have been injured in an accident case that resulted from someone else's carelessness, recklessness, or negligence, our personal injury attorneys may be able to help. A lawyer can help you to maximize the value of your case and obtain the monetary compensation that you need and deserve under Florida law.
To schedule a free consultation or case evaluation with a Florida personal injury lawyer, please call us or contact us online.Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 800 North Belcher Road Clearwater, Florida 33765 727-451-6900