The Law Offices of Adrian Crane, P.C.
How to Maximize the Value of Your Personal Injury Claim
1) Seek Medical Care Immediately and Follow Your Doctor’s Advice
You should seek medical care immediately after your injury accident. To do so will allow a prompt medical diagnosis and the proper administration of care which will give you the highest probability of a fast and complete recovery. Many different types of accidents (car accidents, slip and falls, etc.) injure muscles, tendons and ligaments, all of which leave the least damaging scar material when properly and promptly treated.
Also, promptly getting medical care will prevent the standard insurance company comment when denying or low-balling a claim which is “If you were truly injured, you would have promptly sought medical care.” While it is true that many people delay in getting medical care in the hopes that they will miraculously feel better, the truth is that most accidents produce injuries that take a long time to heal. Another reason why victims often delay in getting medical care is that they believe that they must pay money up front at the time the medical care is rendered.
There are many understanding medical providers who know the situation people are often in when unexpectedly getting injured in an accident; they are willing to render care under what is known as a letter of protection which is an agreement between the medical provider, the injured person and their attorney that the medical provider will render care to the person and wait for payment until after personal injury settlement.
Make sure you follow your medical provider’s recommendations to the letter. Make all of your appointments. Take all of your medicine. Complete your physical rehabilitation if prescribed. Don’t give the insurance carrier an excuse to allege that you’re less seriously injured than you say you are by claiming that you didn’t follow your medical provider’s recommendations. Keep in mind that your medical provider has your health at their top priority. Their reputation in helping people get well and recovery from injuries is their badge of distinction and it is for this reason that you can know that they will have your best interests at heart.
2) Hire a Lawyer Who Specializes in Personal Injury Law; the Sooner the Better
The Insurance Research Council has reported in a study that individuals who suffered injuries in car accidents received 40% more money by having a lawyer represent them when compared to accident victims who represented themselves, and that is after the attorney’s fees have been paid.
This is so for a number of reasons. First off, personal injury lawyers are experienced in helping their clients get medical care which contributes to proof of their client’s injuries, and they are adept at arguing all facets and nuances of the case in an effort to support the demand for damages.
Next, the attorney knows the law which means that the insurance adjuster won’t be able to wrongfully convince the client that they are responsible for the accident. It is not uncommon for adjusters to use all kinds of flimsy arguments to low-ball or deny claims.
A personal injury lawyer will know all the damages that are compensable. An adjuster will never advise a claimant of all the specific damages that they can be compensated for.
The personal injury attorney, because of their experience in negotiating claims, is familiar with what they are worth and therefore they are in a better position to evaluate the reasonableness of any offer the insurance carrier may make, facilitating the client in being able to intelligently decline low offers and wait for more reasonable offers.
Personal injury attorneys are seasoned negotiators and these negotiation skills translate into higher settlements. It takes a skilled negotiator to know how to strategize a negotiation so that the best outcome can be had. Knowing how much to initially demand, how much to counter-offer after a particular offer has been made and other nuances of negotiation are contribute to a satisfactory settlement.
Lastly, having an experienced attorney on your side means the insurance company knows you’re serious; they know that if they don’t negotiate in good faith, your attorney will file suit, causing them additional expenses in the form of the high fees their defense attorneys will charge them. Until you hire an experienced attorney, many insurance companies will act like your pointing an empty gun at them.
3) Don’t Talk to The Insurance Company without First Hiring an Attorney
While you might think that insurance companies are in the business of protecting people against loss, the truth is that insurance companies are in the business of making money and maximizing profits. And, one of the primary ways they maximize profits is by minimizing the amounts they pay to injured victims.
Adjusters are an insurance company’s front line attack in minimizing payments to victims. One of their principal money saving methods is for their adjusters to contact injured victims immediately after an accident in an effort to take advantage of them before they hire an attorney. In an effort to take advantage of the victim they often say things that are simply not true. Amazingly, in many situations it is not illegal for them to lie!
One lie that insurance adjusters often tell you is that once you give them a recorded statement they will pay your claim, and that you shouldn’t think about hiring a lawyer until after giving them a chance to settle with you. They may tell you that the lawyer can’t do anything for your in your recorded statement. These untruths are all aimed at getting you to say things that will harm your claim; things that your lawyer wouldn’t let you say.
You should never give a recorded statement until after you first speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Your lawyer may advise you to not give a recorded statement. Once reason why you may be best off not giving a recorded statement is that your case may need to be litigated which means that the defendants will need to take your deposition and there is no sense in giving the defendants your recorded statement AND your deposition. Insurance companies and their defense lawyers love to get two opportunities to question you.
They love to have two opportunities to get information from you that they’re not entitled to; they have two opportunities to try to trip you up. They can re-ask you every question and compare every fact or allegation against the things you say the second time around so as to make you look confused or dishonest.
Having a lawyer on your side means that you won’t be giving a recorded statement unless it’s really a good idea. The lawyer will be there to keep you from giving information that you have no obligation to give and they will also be there to prevent the insurance adjuster from twisting your words and asking unfair questions that assume facts that aren’t true.
Adjusters ask multiple questions about every facet of the accident in part, in an effort to get victims to cross themselves up, admit that they did something wrong or to get them to admit that they could have done something to avoid the accident. Multiple questions concerning your speed, actions you did or didn’t take to avoid the accident, where you were looking just before the accident happened, what was on your mind, exactly when you hit the brakes, which foot did you use to hit the brakes, where on the brake pedal did you touch first, what part of your foot did you use to first touch the brakes, what kinds of problems you were having in your life, stress you were experiencing or anything else they can ask you to try to trip you up or to get you to give differing or slightly different answers. Asking you the same or slightly different questions is a common technique.
Asking multiple questions about what you may have told other people at the scene of the accident in a state of panic and exactly what they told you is another technique. What did they look like, what were they wearing, who said what first, what their emotional state was, who did you think they were, why do you think they were talking to you….and on and on and on.
Asking questions about every nuance of your pain and medical care (past and current) is another technique adjusters often employ to get victims to cross themselves up. Have you ever had neck pain in your life, or back pain? When did it start, how did it start, did you make recoveries before, who was involved, what insurance companies, your parent’s health, the way you were raised, every aspect of your sexual activities before and since the accident, and questions that you never thought could be of any concern, all the while threatening to deny your claim if you “don’t cooperate”.
Confusion on your part is their ally. It’s also not unusual for adjusters to also try to wear victims down with unnecessarily time-consuming and lengthy statements.
Do not speak with the insurance adjuster until you first speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer. If you give a recorded statement to the insurance company of the at fault party without the benefit of the advice a lawyer you may damage your case; to do so could end up costing you thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars. The personal injury lawyers at The Law Offices of Adrian Crane will be happy to provide you with a free no-obligation consultation.
4) Be Patient.
It takes time to properly negotiate a successful financial recovery. The more patient you can be, the more likely it is that you will receive a high settlement. Insurance companies are in no rush to pay money and love to try and wait you out. It’s not uncommon for good settlements to be made either right before a lawsuit has to be filed or at the deadline put to them. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Adrian Crane understand the difficulties clients face waiting for compensation and would themselves also like to resolve all claims as fast as possible, oftentimes the best settlements do not happen quickly. Keep in communication with your attorney and let them know your situation and so they can keep you informed about your case.
If you or a loved one has suffered any kind of injury as a result of the negligence or recklessness of another, you owe it to yourself and your family to hire an attorney who specializes only in representing injured victims. Contact an attorney at The Law Offices of Adrian Crane by calling 972-325-0044 or by contacting us through the case evaluation form located on this website.
For your convenience, we offer home, hospital, office and nursing home visits. Our team of professionals at The Law Offices of Adrian Crane will provide you with the experience, strategy and commitment that protect your rights and claims.
At our personal injury firm, you speak directly with an attorney, not just secretaries and paralegals. A Spanish-speaking attorney and staff members are available for your assistance. Se habla Español.
Attorneys associated with The Law Offices of Adrian Crane handle cases across the state of Texas. Our principal office in North Texas is in McAllen however we are happy to welcome cases from anywhere in Texas, regardless of where you live or where the accident took place.