California Insurance Law - Top Ten Secrets About Personal Injury Negotiations
By The Law Offices of R. Sebastian Gibson
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The author divulges ten secrets about insurance companies you should know when trying to negotiate a personal injury settlement. This experienced negotiator warns how insurance companies try to take advantage of people without attorneys.
As an auto accident attorney and personal injury lawyer in Southern California with nearly thirty years of experience in San Diego, Orange County, Palm Springs and London, there are secrets that insurance companies don’t want you to know. Here are ten of the most important.
First, insurance companies are not your friends. They are in business to make money. The less money they give you for your accident, the more money they make. Their adjusters may seem pleasant, and on a personal level they may even feel something for what you are going through. But they do not get ahead in their jobs by giving you more money than they can get by with giving you.
Second, insurance companie s do no want you to hire a lawyer. If you hire a lawyer, they know they will have to pay you more money. They will paint lawyers as greedy, lazy, unnecessary, and any other number of adjectives to believe you will do better without a lawyer. Knowing the first secret, why would you ever believe such a portrayal from an insurance company interested in making money?
Third, an insurance company will tell you things that an insurance lawyer knows better than to believe himself. Some will tell you that you aren’t entitled to claim a back injury from an accident if you had back problems before the accident. They may tell you that you aren’t entitled to pain and suffering for certain types of medical bills. They will almost certainly tell you that you can’t be seriously injured if your impact was minor.
Fourth, an insurance company adjuster is a skilled negotiator. That means he or she will attempt to play you like a poker pro. You will hear things like, “that’s my best offer,” “if you don’t agree to accept this offer, we can have an arbitration,” “you won’t do better than this after an attorney takes his fee,” and “our analysis of your medical bills is that the reasonable value of them is less than half.”
Fifth, insurance companies do want to settle your case, but they pretend as if they could care less if you take the case to court. Unfortunately, until you have an attorney, they will be discounting the value of your case not only by at least what you would be paying an attorney out of your settlement, but often by other values such as the cost of future medical treatment, and future wage loss.
Sixth, insurance companies will probably not tell you other things that you have a right to be compensated for such as prescriptions, the loss of use of your car, damage to items in your vehicle, mileage to your doctors and other items you can be compensated for.
Seventh, when you are dealing with an insurance adjuster, you might as well be dealing with their insurance attorneys. The adjuster has often been trained in programs put together by top insurance negotiators and attorneys who know the law, who know psychology, and who know how to pay you the least amount of money they can get by with paying you.
Eighth, insurance companies have reserves set aside for major catastrophes that allow them to hold millions to billions of dollars and gain interest on those funds and improve their profits.
Ninth, insurance companies don’t advertise on television all of the time because they aren’t making money. If they weren’t making money, they wouldn’t advertise (although this may no longer be true of financial institutions that have gone bankrupt on Wall Street while still running advertisements on television).
Tenth, insurance companies make interest on every dollar they hold. It is therefore in their best interest not to settle your case quickly, unless they are settling it cheaply.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: R. Sebastian Gibson
Sebastian Gibson has been named as one of the Top Lawyers the last 4 years running by Palm Springs Life Magazine. Attorney Sebastian Gibson has dual law degrees in California and in Great Britain, and has experience in both the U.S. and U.K. From offices in Palm Desert and Orange County, the law firm provides exceptional legal services in the fields of personal injury to the victims of car, motorcycle, truck, pedestrian and bicycle accidents, and to the families of victims of wrongful deaths. We also practice in the fields of insurance law, business and corporate law, contracts, entertainment law, trademarks, international law, music and literary publishing, modeling, celebrity law, real estate and homeowner association matters.
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.