DO your homework.
If you’re planning to handle a claim on your own, or are contesting a settlement, it’s a good idea to learn as much as you can about the claims process, particularly the games insurance companies play. We recommend this article on the most common insurance company tactics used to minimize your settlement. When you know what’s going on, it’s less likely you’ll be taken advantage of.
DO the math.
You need to have documentation for all the expenses your accident has caused you to incur: hospital bills, doctor appointments, bandages, crutches, pain killers, etc. Document your mileage/transportation costs for getting to and from doctor appointments, too, as well as the lost wages from days you couldn’t work because of your injuries.
Costs to consider when calculating the value of your claim:
- Property damage
- Car rental
- Hospital deductible
- Prescription drugs
- Chiropractic care
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Future medical expenses
DON’T be pressured into anything.
Insurance companies all say they care about their policyholders, but they’ll do anything to minimize and delay your settlement. They do this in the hope you’ll get so frustrated and tired of dealing with them that you’ll accept whatever settlement they offer. Don’t do it. If your claim is legitimate and supported with evidence of your expenses, you have a right to be compensated.
DON’T trust “sign and settle” lawyers.
Personal injury law firms that boast about settling thousands of cases every year are known in the industry as “settlement mills.” These firms just want to settle your case with the insurance company, take their cut, and send you on your way. Insurance companies know these firms never bother to take a case to trial, so they get away with lowball offers. You have one shot at getting the settlement you’re owed. Don’t blow it by hiring a “sign and settle” lawyer who won’t fight for you.
DO get the opinion of an experienced personal injury attorney.
Even if you’re planning to take on your insurance company by yourself, at least take advantage of a free consultation with a personal injury attorney. Almost all reputable personal law firms offer this, Warshafsky Law included. You’ll meet with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys who will assess the strength of your case and let you know just how much is at stake.