You may have insurance claims through many events in your life. You may have been in a car accident in Tarrant County or Dallas County where you filed against an insurance policy. Your home may have been damaged by weather and you have to file against your homeowner policy. As a renter, you may need to file a claim when property is stolen. You may have to negotiate a health insurance claim the insurer is refusing to pay. So on and so on. While it is not always necessary to have an attorney represent you in negotiating – or litigating – an insurance claim, you may be leaving some of your legitimately due compensation on the table if you are unaware of all of your rights or do not have the negotiation skills to negotiate a fair settlement against a very complex industry.
Insurance claims and hiring an attorney in Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas
Insurance is a massive, massive industry. Insurers do not make money by paying claims. Instead, insurance companies make money by taking in premiums and then investing it at a greater return than their expenses, whether it is by marketing to obtain new customers to pay premiums or through investments in securities and various other forms of investment. They use very complex statistical and actuarial math to evaluate risk to make sure they are profitable entities.
In an ideal world – for them – they would take in policy premiums, never pay claims and make significant profits. Every claim they pay takes profits out of their pockets. As a result, they create massive claim management business units that involve may involve claim adjusters, investigators, customer service agents, lawyers, scientists, engineers, expert business negotiators, all of whom may receive bonus for how much they save the company.
Sometimes they also hire outside law firms to handle negotiation, settlement and litigation of claims. These powerful business units and law firms have no duty to tell you your rights under the policy or the law. I have been told countless times by clients and acquaintances all sorts of lies, distortions and manipulations of the law told to them by claims adjusters. Their goal is to make you settle for as little as possible. They do not have to offer you a reasonable amount nor will they in most cases. Adjusting claims is a process of negotiation. As long as they control the knowledge and expertise they control the negotiation. Hiring a Texas lawyer who understands the law and claims adjustment process balances control of the negotiation.
Challenges working with the insurer after a wreck in Fort Worth, Dallas, or Bedford
Furthermore, they may try to isolate what they believe they owe on the claim to a small amount. A vehicle hit from behind in a car accident may have only cosmetic damage. It is possible that the jolt damaged an operational component in the front of the car. If you do not know to have the entire car inspected, you may not realize there is a mechanical problem with the car until after you agree to settle the claim to repair the back of the vehicle. And if you do discover the damage in the front before settling, the claims adjuster may refuse to pay for some or all of the mechanical problems in the front of the vehicle.
Similarly, you may settle a claim for medical injuries based upon what has been paid up to that point, but what if additional, latent medical problems appear? If you settled for existing medical bills, you likely will have to pay future medical bills on your own. That’s why it’s important to have an attorney on your side directing you to the right experts and negotiating for you.
Bad things insurance companies will tell you
Insurance companies like to tell claimants that hiring an attorney will delay payment and reduce the amount received. This is because without counsel, it’s easier for them to take advantage of you. It puts you at a disadvantage. Certainly they are correct that negotiating a fair settlement may delay payment. That is because the insurance company wants to push you into a quick settlement. And yes, lawyers do expect to be paid for their work. Often they take on a contingency fee, where the attorney takes a portion of the settlement or jury award as payment instead of billing the client. On very small claims it may not be worth it for a claimant to hire an attorney. Since most attorneys who handle personal injury claims offer free consultation, it always makes sense to talk to an attorney.
If you have filed an insurance claim, call an attorney to get an assessment of your claim. Although insurance companies may not want to pay on a claim, that doesn’t mean that they won’t or shouldn’t.