When an individual suffers an injury that resulted from the negligence of another, they are encouraged to contact the insurance company of the one who is liable. The insurance company will conduct an investigation of the matter and respond to you or your personal injury attorney with their findings. However, like civil defendants, insurance providers also have legal input that regards the collection process and can be very problematic when it comes to negotiating.
Insurance adjusters are professionals trained to deal with insurance claims on a regular basis. Their primary goal is to protect their clients — even if they are negligent — and save the company money by denying insurance claims by any means necessary. Some of these guys are so good that, if you were to deal with them alone without having a good attorney to back you up, they may convince you that you were at fault when you weren’t. That’s why it is never a good idea to attempt negotiations of an injury claim alone without legal advice from a professional attorney who knows the ropes. Accident cases are not as easy as you may think. There are a lot of loopholes that can be used against you if you try to go it alone.
First Insurance Company Contact
The insurance company will usually contact the injured party themselves to ask questions concerning the case and may want a sworn statement. It is very important that you take note of what they are asking, never admit to anything, or commit to a statement, as the insurance adjuster will use it against you if the case should go to trial.
These adjusters are constantly looking for reasons to deny your claim or at least reduce it, and your statement could be the perfect solution. Moreover, you should not sign anything during your first discussion rather use it to measure just how difficult the adjuster is going to be during the final settlement negotiation.
Comparative negligence is one of the legal areas insurance companies will focus on in the settlement negotiation. In Arizona, comparative negligence states that an injured party is entitled to recover compensation even if they are 99 percent at fault. However, they are only allowed to recover the damages where they were not at fault. The higher the percentage is for a plaintiff’s comparative negligence, the lower their amount of recovery for damage will be, no matter how much insurance coverage is available. Claims handlers are very well versed in this process and will try to hit a plaintiff with a high comparative fault percentage.
Having a personal injury attorney who is experienced with such processes and can evaluate the insurance companies’ actions, can be the difference in receiving a fair settlement or very little damage recovery.
Low Offers and Stalling Tactics
If an insurance claims adjuster senses that you want to hire a lawyer to negotiate, they will immediately try to make you an offer for a much lower amount than what you are really entitled to. This is an indication that your claim has a much higher value, which an experienced attorney can assist you in getting. Therefore do not buy into their offer or sign a release for future medical since you could be giving up a lot more than you realize.
Hire an attorney so your case will be evaluated and investigated by your legal motions and counsel and the insurance company will be required to disclose information pertinent to your case regarding the insurance level carried by the respondent.
The court also recognizes when a valid claim settlement is purposely being stalled and determines it as bad faith. This means that the insurance company can potentially face a separate lawsuit not capped by insurance protection amounts. You should always be aware of the representative you are dealing with and their actions from the beginning.
Insurance Requirements in Arizona
In the state of Arizona, you must have proof of financial responsibility before you can even register an automobile, even though we have had clients involved in car accidents where the other driver doesn’t have insurance. This can be in the form of a bond, a certificate of insurance, a certificate of deposit, or $40,000 in cash.
There are two types of coverage that must be maintained to show proof of insurance:
- Bodily injury that includes $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident
- Property damage of $10,000 per accident for property damage coverage
The insurance coverage amount you purchase is the maximum amount the insurance company will pay; therefore, if losses exceed your coverage, you may have to pay out of pocket to fulfill the additional expenses.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) in 2010, the cost of productivity losses and medical care associated with auto accident injuries was more than $99 billion, or almost $500, for each U.S. licensed driver.
Should you have any complaints about an insurance company, you can contact the Arizona Department of Insurance (ADOI). The ADOI oversees insurance company’s and will run a thorough investigation, evaluate the company, and then determine whether they performed a reasonable investigation and adjusted your claim in a fair manner. However, the ADOI is not able to adjust claims or determine the extent of damage, the value of vehicles, or the costs of repairs.
Turn the Claim Over to a Professional
When you are injured in an accident, you have enough on your plate in dealing with your injuries, to have to also worry about deceiving insurance agents.
Once you retain a personal injury attorney, you can rest assured that there is an entire professional team working for you on your side. In addition, your legal rights to recover damages are observed by the court system and the insurance company. If you are dealing with a problematic personal injury claim and/or an unruly insurance company in Arizona, contact Hutzler Law now for a free evaluation of your claim value, then all you need to worry about is recovering while we take care of the insurance company for you. Solid representation is the key to getting what is rightfully yours faster than you can imagine.
According to Nerd Wallet, your auto insurance rates can be raised an average of $839 per year or over 50 percent as the result of an auto accident where you were at fault, even if only $5000 worth of damage was caused. In fact, in the state of Arizona, drivers that go from accident-free to having an at-fault accident could see a 64 percent insurance rate increase with an average annual increase rate of $2,426. We just may be able to assist you in reducing your insurance rates after having an at-fault accident, especially, if you don’t feel like you were the only guilty party in the incident.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates around 10 million or more auto collisions go unreported each year. This means that numerous individuals do not get the compensation they deserve when injured in an auto accident. While it is understandable that many people today lead hectic lives and feel they don’t have the time to settle a case, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take out a few minutes to contact an attorney that can handle things for you.
Contact us now, for a free evaluation.