I just had a consult with a potential client. During the conversation, the client informed me that she was being pressured to settle quickly by the opposing insurance company for merely her medical costs. In my experience, if you’re injured in an accident that was not your fault, you should not have to pay for anything — in fact, you probably have an additional claim to pay you for injuries, pain & suffering.
As a matter of fact, you deserve to be compensated for many things, including: not being able to sleep due to pain, missing work, the pain itself, not being able to go dancing with your spouse, not being able to participate in your softball league, the pain you’re going to have 30 years from now (my mom still gets occasional neck pain from a T-bone collision when she was a teenager in the 1950s!), and the time you spend visiting doctors.
Too often, people try to settle their own injury claims themselves and are thrilled when the insurance company writes them a quick check for a few thousand dollars. Well, I’m here to tell you, the insurance company is making out like a bandit when that happens. Don’t let them sucker you in with quick cash! The insurance company plays this game numerous times every day! How often will you do it in a lifetime? once, maybe twice? You’re at a HUGE disadvantage: you’ve never done it before, you don’t know what normally happens in cases similar to yours, and you don’t know the rules. It’s like playing football for the first time, but you’ve never seen a game before and you have one arm tied behind you back – you’ll be crushed!
Anyway, insurance companies love it when you represent yourself – they know they can settle quick and cheap – it’s a numbers game pure and simple. Hire a lawyer. Yes, it will take longer (maybe years) to finally get your money, yes the lawyer will be paid 1/3, but you’ll end up with twice the money in your pocket – maybe five times – maybe ten times – maybe 100 times! So, do yourself a huge favor – hire a lawyer to represent you and be patient. One more thought – if the insurance company rep says “Don’t worry, you don’t need a lawyer for this, we’ll help you” – then, you probably need a lawyer. You deserve to have someone on your side who’s done this before.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article by Tempe based attorney Scott Greeves.