The Spurs never put a sports fan in the lineup for a playoff game, and the Austin symphony orchestra conductor never asks an audience member to play a clarinet in a sold out concert. Negotiating insurance settlements on your own puts you in the same position as the novice basketball or clarinet player. Most things are more complicated than they look, including basketball and clarinet playing, but negotiating an insurance settlement with a professional insurance adjuster is even more difficult.
Why Use an Attorney
Compare your experience in negotiations with the intensive training that lawyers study for years and see how the scales balance. You may not want to pay an attorney to represent you in a personal injury insurance claim, but the cost of legal services is far less than you can lose by doing your own negotiations.
Insurance companies want you to represent yourself, and they enjoy the tremendous advantage in knowledge of the law that you hand them. Of course, they deny that they do not want you to hire a lawyer, knowing that it may convince you to do the opposite. Misleading statements from an insurance adjuster that you may believe but an attorney does not accept include these:
• “You get more money if you do not hire a lawyer”.
• “You had these physical problems before your accident.”
• “Your accident was too minor to have caused you any injury.”
• “Our estimate of your claim is half of what you are asking.”
• “That is my final offer.”
• “We can go to arbitration if you do not accept my offer.”
Personal injuries suffered in an accident often have long term effects that require extensive therapy and limit your ability to work. Your inexperience in anticipating the problems that you may suffer for the rest of your life gives an adjuster an advantage in negotiating.
As a fair person, you probably expect to receive a just settlement from your insurance company. The premium payments that you have made for years without ever making a claim do not make insurance companies decide to pay your claim this time. Their goal of making as much money as possible is defeated when they pay large compensation claims. While you deserve sympathy and understanding for what you have gone through, you cannot realistically expect to get it from your insurance company. Ask an attorney to negotiate an insurance settlement for you.