Is Your Auto Claim Settlement Lacking?
What do you know about filing for an auto claim settlement? Many Americans wholeheartedly believe that they are good drivers. Even with this belief, American drivers still have to file an auto insurance claim on average once every 19 years. It's important to realize that even if a person is a great driver, another negligent driver can easily involve them in an accident.
When this occurs, the negligent driver's auto insurance company will likely make a settlement offer, but these offers aren't always fair. That's why it's imperative to recognize the mechanics of the insurance industry and the fact that you have a right to legal help.
The Inherent Problem with Insurance Companies
If a person is injured, or has property damage due to another driver's negligence, it would only seem fair that the negligent driver's insurer would cover all damages. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the auto insurance industry, this doesn't always occur like it should. Auto insurers are, at heart, for-profit businesses. This means that they show larger profits if they're able to make reduced auto claim settlement payments.
Since insurance companies are trying to make money, they'll actively engage in tactics that would reduce their liability. This includes asking leading questions during an interview. These are questions that guide you to respond in a certain manner that will be to the benefit of the insurance company. This is why no one should make a statement to an insurance company without speaking with an attorney. If you are in the New York area, New York auto accident lawyers will be able to provide legal guidance.
The Right to an Attorney
Most people only think of the "right to an attorney" when they're considering criminal legal matters. It's essential to realize, however, that this right branches into civil law as well. An attorney can do great things for an accident victim. Statistically speaking, accident victims are able to obtain substantially larger settlements and judgments when they are represented by an attorney.
A legal professional can ensure that their client doesn't make any damning statements by mistake. The big benefit, however, is that insurance companies know that attorneys are able to secure larger verdicts at trial. This often makes them want to avoid any trial at all, and in an effort to avoid it, they're more likely to offer a fair settlement. When they don't, however, an attorney may actually be able to get an individual much more than they ever anticipated.
The Right to Additional Compensation
Though insurance companies are trying to make a profit, they're still bound by American law. The law states that insurers must act in "good faith" when dealing with those that need compensation. When an insurer knowingly denies a legitimate claim or purposefully offers a person a settlement that is much less than it should be, they've likely acted in "bad faith."
Acting in bad faith is considered a "tort", basically an infringement of someone's rights, and punishable by civil courts. This means that if an insurer acts in bad faith when dealing with a person, that person's attorney may actually be able to get them an additional settlement on top of their injury and property damage claims. This is a very complex area of law, however, and should thus be handled by an experienced attorney.
Insurance companies are often perceived as the final resolution, so using an attorney to settle an insurance claim is something that many don't even consider. When it comes to auto claim settlements, however, not obtaining an attorney can prove to be detrimental. Regardless of whether a physical injury, property damage or both occurred, an unfair settlement doesn't have to be tolerated. Often, letting the company know you've secured the services of an attorney is enough to make them offer a fair settlement the first time around.
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