Secrets The Insurance Companies Do Not Want You To Know
Insurance companies have closely guarded secrets that an average accident victim would not likely know. Their employees are trained to keep these secrets from you by not answering your questions, and by giving you vague, misleading, or even inaccurate information.
With 20 years of experience representing accident victims, I know of hundreds of secrets the insurance companies do not want you to know. I have listed the five most common reoccurring secrets I continually hear from my clients. Once I represent you, the insurance companies know that they can’t hide from the truth. The playing field is now leveled.
Secret 1: The insurance company does not want you to know the type of damages you are entitled to.
Most accident victims already know that they are entitled to compensation for their medical bills and lost wages. The secret the insurance companies are keeping from you is that you are also entitled to recover damages for many other things. Just a few of the more common damages include:
Future Loss of Income – If your injury results in the loss of income in the future, in any way, you are eligible for future lost wages. This can be due to future treatment or any condition which would impair your earnings in any way. The amount of the damages is equal to the present value of the wages you would have earned during your entire lifetime, if applicable.
Pain and Suffering (Past and Future) – This term is often familiar to people, but the reasoning behind it is often misunderstood. Sometimes it is viewed as an unnecessary and greedy attempt by an accident victim to get rich from the incident. The value of this element of damages is also not easy to measure. The amount of your medical bills is straight forward, but what is the value of the days, weeks, or even years of painful healing? In reality, the after effects of an accident are far reaching. Victims and family members can suffer severe, and often, long lasting anguish, fear, depression, and other side effects.
Loss of Useful Life – You are entitled to recover damages for the diminishment in your ability to enjoy and perform the daily activities of your life caused by the accident. This is in addition to, and separate and apart, from pain and suffering. It covers both past and future inability to enjoy life’s pleasures including relationships with spouse and children, work, hobbies, driving, housework, gardening and any other activity you could and did do before the incident but can no longer do or with added difficulty.
Disfigurement or Amputation – Scars, loss of limbs, or unsightly marks resulting from an injury entitle the victim to recover damages for the disfigurement, along with the humiliation and embarrassment caused by the disfigurement. In many cases, these damages can be quite substantial. Yet, many victims unknowingly place no value on this, completely unaware that they can recover for their physical scars.
Wrongful Death – While money can never compensate for the loss of a loved one, it is the only means our system of justice leaves available to compensate the loved ones left behind. Those eligible to recover include; spouses, children, parents, and other relatives, through blood or marriage, who were dependent upon the deceased at the time of the accident. In addition to monetary compensation for the wrongful death of their loved one, survivors may receive damages based on a direct cause of action for injuries to them for loss of companionship, affection, attention, comfort, protection, marital care, parental care, child care, guidance, advice, training, education, mental anguish, and pain and suffering. If the deceased suffered prior to their death, their estate may be entitled to damages as well. Under many circumstances this can be very substantial depending on the length of time between the injury and death of the victim.
Secret 2: Insurance companies do not want you to know, or learn how to find out, what your injuries are actually worth.
Insurance companies go to great lengths to prevent you from learning how much your injuries are actually worth. The biggest way they do this is to try to prevent you from hiring an attorney. They know that once you do, statistics show you will receive two or three times as much for your injuries. Another way is not to inform you of the resources for valuing your claim. If you are dealing with an adjuster, ask them where you could go to value your claim. .I bet they won’t direct you to the local jury verdict reporter or a website like mine that will do just that.
Secret 3: The insurance company does not want you to know the long term consequences of your injuries.
One reason insurance adjusters are often so eager to process a claim and offer a quick settlement is to prevent the victim from discovering the extent, and possible long lasting effects, of their injuries. Only you and your doctor can really answer this question and it usually takes time. On the other hand, the insurance companies use a “cookie cutter” technique to assign a value to each injury, or combination of injuries, and assess a dollar amount based on this formula..It is arrogant on the part of the insurance company, and insulting to you, when they attempt to classify all victims and their injuries into narrowly defined “one-size-fits-all” categories. You are unique, your injuries are unique, and you deserve individualized personal attention to every aspect of your case.
Secret 4:The insurance company does not want you to know what a third-party claim is or if one is available to you.
A third-party claim would involve a set of facts which could make a third-party, someone other than the insurance company’s client, responsible for your injuries. These claims often dramatically increase the value of your case or present the opportunity of using a low policy limit settlement to fund a claim against a high policy limit third-party. However, if you settle the claim without preserving the 3rd party claim, in some circumstances you may lose this opportunity.
Some examples of third-party claims are:
- Accidents caused by faulty equipment or manufactured products.
- Injuries caused by an employee of another company at your job site.
- Injuries as a result of unsafe premises when owned or operated by someone other than your employer.
- Car accidents caused by someone else’s negligence when you are driving as part of your job.
If you are not aware that you can file a claim against a third-party, in almost all cases, the insurance company is not going to tell you. If you think someone else may be liable for your injuries, I highly recommend you call me to discuss how it may affect your claim.
Secret 5: The insurance company does not want you to know that accident victims receive 2-3 times more money with an attorney.
Victims represented by an attorney typically receive two to three times more money than they obtain when they represent themselves. Insurance companies don’t want you to know this. If you are dealing with an adjuster, ask him if they would advise you to speak to an attorney before proceeding any further. I bet you will hear a lot of things, but one thing you won’t hear is “yes, I suggest you seek legal counsel immediately.” This is why the insurance companies want to settle your claim quickly and why the adjuster will do everything possible to keep you from hiring a lawyer.
In Illinois, statistics show that the average settlement for an auto accident in 2010 was a little over $30,000 if the individual was not represented by an attorney and between $60,000 and $90,000 for the same damages if they were represented by an attorney. However, small accidents, typically under $5,000 in damages, may not require the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney. You still should know what to expect when dealing with a potentially unscrupulous insurance adjuster. Therefore, it is always a good idea to call me for a free, no obligation case analysis and just get some good, honest advice on what to do and what the settlement value of your case likely is given your injuries.