Imagine you are driving on I-695 around Baltimore. Another driver changes lanes into you near Hawkins Point, and both vehicles crash on the shoulder. You have serious injuries that will keep you out of work for two months. If you are considering settling with the insurance company alone, you should reconsider. Insurance companies play a key role in many personal injury cases. Trying to handle negotiations alone could lead to a subpar case result. Relying on a skilled Maryland personal injury attorney may help you get a better settlement from the insurance company. Your lawyer also can take them to court, if necessary. Pinder Plotkin will assist you with insurance negotiations today if you have been injured in an accident.

Understanding What Insurance Adjusters Do

You usually talk to an insurance adjuster when dealing with insurance companies after an accident.  The most common situation is where you are in a car accident caused by the other driver. The insurance company for the other driver will probably contact you soon after the incident. The insurance company assigns the adjuster to investigate the accident and determine what the claim is worth. Remember that the insurance adjuster is an employee of the insurance company. Therefore, they focus on keeping any settlement offer as low as possible, making the insurance company more money. While the insurance company wants to pay as little as possible, they usually want to avoid personal injury lawsuits. When the case does not settle out of court, your personal injury attorney can file a lawsuit and take them to court. If the case goes through a trial, the jury or judge will decide who is to blame. If the insurance company’s client is found liable, the insurer must pay you damages. So, the main task of the insurance company is to get you to take the lowest settlement offer without you filing a lawsuit. If they know an attorney does not represent you, they will often offer you less money, assuming that you do not know your case’s actual value.

How Insurance Companies Make Settlement Offers

If you were injured in an accident and another party was at fault, that person’s insurance company will review your case to find out roughly what it is worth. The factors that are usually examined to approximate the case value are:
  • Your medical bills and related expenses in the past and future for your injuries
  • How much income you have lost, and will lose during your recovery
  • Pain and suffering from your injuries
  • Mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and similar adverse health effects
  Some damages, such as past medical bills, are easy to figure out. However, determining what your pain and suffering are worth is complicated. Suffice it to say that the insurance company will attempt to minimize your pain and suffering. It’s usually your attorney’s job to point out your pain and suffering from the evidence and fight for maximum compensation.

How To Handle The Other Party’s Insurance Company

When you are hurt, you probably do not want to deal with insurance companies, but sometimes it is necessary, at least initially. Here are some things to consider trying to settle a personal injury claim with an insurance company:
  • Be careful what you say. If their client was at fault for the car accident, they would probably call you to get a statement. The adjuster will likely want to record the statement, but don’t allow it. Instead, they only want to use what you say against you to reduce your settlement.
  • Have proof of fault and your injuries. It isn’t enough to say “the other guy did it.” You need strong evidence that another driver or party caused the accident. Further, you must have proof of damages and injuries to receive compensation, such as your doctor’s report about your injuries. Also helpful are photographs of the accident, vehicles, and medical bills.
  • Send a demand letter. When you have evidence of your injuries and damages, you can send a demand letter to the insurance company to settle the case. To do so, you need to know what your case is worth to get the most money.
  • Have the adjuster justify a low offer. Expect the first settlement offer to be low. When it happens, do not lower your demand. Instead, tell the adjuster to give reasons why the initial offer was low. Write down this conversation and write a response to each reason the offer was below your expectations. You can lower your demand, but not by much.
  • Consider referring the insurance adjuster to your attorney. Instead of talking to the insurance company, it is usually best to hire an attorney and have your attorney speak with them. This is because your attorney knows how to negotiate with insurance companies and knows roughly what the case is worth. Your attorney will usually get more compensation than you can by yourself.

How Much Do Insurance Companies Pay for Personal Injury Claims?

Settlement amounts vary widely related to the severity of injuries. One 2005 study found the following average settlement amounts:
  • 50% of plaintiffs received $24,000 or less.
  • The median settlement amount was $31,000.
  • The median amount in car accidents was $16,000.

Contact a Baltimore Personal Injury Attorney Today

If you were injured because of someone’s negligence, dealing with their insurance company will probably be necessary at first. While you can get a fair settlement in some minor injury cases, strongly consider hiring an attorney to negotiate for you. Call Pinder Plotkin today to find out if you have a strong personal injury case.

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