Some personal injury claims are relatively simple and obvious enough that there is really little need for a personal injury attorney when all parties are agreeable. But, claims that may be very valuable are often defended vigorously by the respondent insurance companies. These claims should never be handled personally by the injured party because there are reasons the insurance company is being difficult. And, many times the position of the insurance company regarding a claim is actually an insufficient defense that the novice injured party does not realize. This happens more common than people realize when the insurance company adjuster thinks the claimant will just go away. There is always a potential for bad faith bargaining by an insurance company when any personal injury claim is filed, and having an experienced personal injury lawyer is vital to be compensated properly, especially when injuries are serious.
Establishing a Claim
Documentation is vital when filing a personal injury claim. Establishing standing for the claim begins by providing medical documentation that an injury occurred to the plaintiff that required medical attention. In addition, the plaintiff legal counsel must also prove that the respondent owed a legal reasonable duty of care to the plaintiff and that the respondent was negligent in that duty. The same process applies to both auto accident law and premises law, and having solid documented evidence that the duty of care existed is essential. Actually, many claims are settled well before they reach the court proceeding stage when all evidence is accurate and valid, as insurance companies normally understand well when there is a definite likelihood they will have to settle the claim for some amount of damages.
Negotiating a Fair Settlement
Insurance companies are sometimes very frustrating to deal with when filing a personal injury claim. At times they will want the injured party to see a specific medical professional of their choosing for a counter argument concerning the injuries, especially concerning long-term physical damage. In addition, they may focus on claiming the injured plaintiff was negligent as well, which can be an effective argument when attempting to lessen or deny a claim, depending on the state law stipulating comparative negligence or reasonable assumption of personal risk. All drivers in an auto accident are assessed for a comparative negligence percentage. Their available damages are then discounted by the particular percentage in most states. And in some cases, insurance companies may try to stall the process in an effort to wait the plaintiff out for a smaller settlement amount. This negotiating difficulty is a primary reason any injured claimant should have a professional negotiator, as well, handling their claim for a maximum damage award.
Bad Faith Insurance Companies
When an insurance company has been bargaining in bad faith, such as unreasonably refusing to pay or holding off on benefit payments, the insurance company can be found to be violating legal requirements. And, unreasonable actions regarding timely payments is not the only bad faith tactic. Some policies have even been determined to be structured in bad faith when there are hidden policy requirements that may result in the insurance company denying a claim. Insurance policies are complicated, and they are complicated for a reason. Auto accidents also often have an element of uninsured or under-insured motorist coverage on a injured victim’s personal policy.
It is clear to see that it is vital to have an experienced and aggressive personal injury lawyer handling any personal injury claim, regardless of the material case factors or applicable financial recovery regulations. Insurance companies can sometimes be difficult when attempting to process a claim they think will not go to court, and having your own professional negotiator means that you have an excellent chance at a maximum damage settlement or award from a sympathetic jury. Punitive damages can also be the result of a jury trial, and juries can at times find the insurance companies guilty of gross negligence and bad faith tactics, as well.
The Lamber Goodnow legal team, in partnership with our co-counsel personal injury law firm in Chicago, are experienced in these matters. Our Chicago personal injury lawyers never charge a fee, unless we win your case. Get a risk free consultation today.