I think I may be hard-wired to stand up to bullies. Even when I was a kid, I never could just stand back and watch as somebody strong picked on somebody weak. You may think bullies only exist in childhood schoolyards, but other types of bullies are alive and well in your adult life. As a personal injury attorney, I fight one particular type of bully all the time: the insurance company.

Insurance companies are all too happy to take advantage of you when you’re in trouble. You pay insurance premiums for years, trusting in the promise that you, or someone you accidentally harm, will be taken care of when something goes wrong. That is how insurance is supposed to work.

The problem is, that’s not how insurance companies make money. Where does the money come from to produce all those funny TV commercials and build gigantic skyscrapers for their headquarters? It comes from collecting premiums, not by paying claims. Insurers turn a profit by collecting more in premiums than they pay out in settlements. The less they pay out, the more they get to keep. And you can bet they’ll do everything they can to not pay a claim when someone has been hurt in an accident. Can you imagine a school bully paying out extorted lunch money to a hungry classmate, unless somebody makes them do it?

When you are involved in an accident, you are immediately forced to deal with the “800 pound gorilla” insurance industry. And to make matters worse, you often have to fight not only the insurer for the other person who caused your injury, but you have to fight your own insurer just to get the benefits you thought you were paying for. Insurance companies have vastly more experience, money and manpower than you as an individual could ever match. Even if you are a millionaire, they have the power to make your life miserable. However you do have something no amount of money can buy: the right to stand up to them.

Winning this battle requires choosing the right attorney. As you probably know from being bombarded by ads on the internet, television, and billboards, there are a lot of attorneys who claim to handle personal injury cases. But how they approach cases will make all the difference in the world to you and your case. Often, the big firms with massive ad budgets simply do not have the time to thoroughly prepare your case (or any case) or fight for the maximum compensation you deserve. “Doing it right” requires time, patience and meticulous preparation. These are luxuries “those guys” cannot afford. They have to churn a huge number of cases to pay for their massive marketing campaign, even if it means convincing their clients to settle for less than they should. You and your case may become just another number in a sea of faceless claims. They might get you a little more than you could on your own, but odds are you will still get a lot less than you deserve. I field many calls from people who, when they would not accept the insurer’s low-ball offer, were “fired” by their “settlement mill” law firm.

That’s not how I approach a personal injury claim. If I take on a case, it’s because I believe in the victim and their claim, I am willing to take their case to trial, and I prepare it from day one as if we are going to do exactly that. Insurers know which attorneys hate to go to trial, and they offer their clients a lot less for their claim as a result. The insurers also know which lawyers “turn over every stone” to help their clients and have no problem going to court when necessary. Ironically, being ready, willing, and able to take your case to a jury makes it much less likely you will ever have to step into a courtroom. As the old saying goes, “If you want peace, prepare for war.”

So knowing all this, what’s your first step if you or a loved one have been hurt by someone else’s negligence? The best way to protect your rights is to start by learning how the personal injury claims process works. Before you talk to the insurance company, sign any paperwork, or hire a lawyer, get your free copy of my book, Win Your Texas Injury Case. Learn how to protect your rights, avoid common mistakes that might hurt your claim, and find the right attorney for your case. Then contact us to review your case and your options. Whether we end up working with you or not, it will be much harder for the insurance bully to push you around when you’re armed with the right information.