Well, the good news is that you may not need an attorney to represent you. However, you should never settle a case without understanding “the system.” The insurance company will do anything to settle your case and get you out of their way. Here are some common tactics that insurance companies use:
- Deliberate delay: The insurance companies may delay your claim because they know that you are in a financial squeeze.
- Requesting Unnecessary Information: Insurance companies will insist that you track down every piece of information. This is a tactic that allows them to earn interest on the money they are NOT paying you.
- Disputing Medical Treatment: Adjusters will act like they know what treatment is right for you and will argue that you are over-treated because “our computers say you should have been better by now.”
- Nickel and Dime the Medical Charges: They will try to shave as much off your claim to make more money.
- Misrepresenting insurance benefits: They will tell you that there is only $100,000 in coverage. However, once we file suit, we will “magically” find an umbrella policy.
- Acting Like Your Friend and Making False Promises: Some adjusters will befriend you and show up to your house to promise to pay your future medical bills. They do this so that you won't hire an attorney, but once they think your claim is costing too much, they will stop helping you.
If you feel like your insurance company is using any of the tactics above, contact a qualified lawyer to handle your case.
However, beware of outrageous lawyer advertising that claims to get you “quick cash for your pain” or those that will file frivolous lawsuits. Before you make an appointment with any lawyer, you should ask them to send you their package of written information, which should include at least the following:
- A sample fee agreement.
- A listing of sample verdicts, settlements, and testimonials from former clients.
- A full written explanation of the steps involved in a personal injury lawsuit.
- A written assurance that they carry errors and omissions (malpractice) insurance for at least one million dollars. Ask for this representation in writing.
- A full explanation of fees and costs, the difference between the tow, and how the percentage fee is calculated.
- A professional biography that outlines at least how long they have been going to trial in personal injury cases and indicated whether they are Board Certified or not.