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Bad Faith Insurance Companies and How They Work Against You

After you’ve been injured in a car accident, you may seek compensation from the other driver if he or she caused the wreck. A car accident claim may lead to a settlement between the accident victim, the at-fault driver and the at-fault driver’s insurance company. However, insurance companies often try to pay the least amount possible to resolve an injury claim.

You can protect yourself from the tactics that insurers use by hiring an experienced Brownsville car accident lawyer to stand up for you. The personal injury attorneys at Herrman & Herrman will fight for the maximum compensation available for your medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.

Our legal team has helped thousands of accident victims secure financial recoveries from insurers through settlements and verdicts. Our Brownsville law office has English- and Spanish-speaking staff to serve you.

Contact us today for a free initial case review to discuss your legal rights and options for dealing with insurance companies. We can help you evaluate whether you have a valid car accident injury claim. If you do, we can represent you on a contingency fee basis and seek to obtain fair and full compensation for your injuries and losses.

What Is an Insurance Settlement?

An insurance settlement refers to an agreement that you make with the driver who caused your injuries and with the at-fault party’s insurance company. In a settlement, you accept a sum of money in exchange for giving up your right to pursue any further legal action against the driver and the insurer relating to the car accident. In most settlements, the driver and their insurer do not admit fault or liability for the accident.

Insurance settlements may be paid in a lump sum, which means you receive the total amount of the settlement in one single payment, or you may have a structured settlement in which you receive payments over time that may vary in size according to the terms of the settlement.

Ways Insurance Companies Minimize Settlements

Insurance companies have an interest in minimizing the size of the settlement they pay to protect their profit margin. Insurance companies use a variety of strategies to try to convince car accident victims to accept less money than they may actually deserve.

These bad faith tactics may include:

  • Displaying a friendly and helpful attitude, which masks the fact that you and the insurance company have opposing interests.
  • Making matter-of-fact statements about a take-it-or-leave-it settlement offer to give you the impression that you do not have room to negotiate.
  • Minimizing serious injuries as minor or non-catastrophic.
  • Seeking access to your entire medical file to look for pre-existing conditions and non-relevant information in order to reduce or deny your claim.
  • Getting you to agree to a settlement before you have an opportunity to speak to an attorney about your legal rights.
  • Stressing the fact that you have medical bills and regular expenses piling up to pressure you to accept a quick settlement.
  • Denying portions of your claim or your entire claim for missing information, such as having an incomplete police accident report.
  • Seeking to assign part of the blame for the accident to you.
  • Casting doubt on the validity of your claim, by citing the fact that you delayed seeking medical treatment after the accident, or that you have made prior car accident or personal injury claims.
  • Making character attacks, including bringing up the fact that you may have been cited for a technical violation in the accident, or challenging your credibility to cast doubt on whether you might succeed on your claim at trial.

How to Counteroffer an Insurance Settlement

 When you receive a settlement offer that doesn’t compensate you for your past, present and future expenses and losses related to the accident, you may make a counteroffer. You may make a counteroffer even if the insurance adjuster tells you that the insurer’s offer is a “take-it-or-leave-it” or a “best-and-final” offer. You should retain a Brownsville accident attorney to handle the negotiations. Otherwise, you will be at a disadvantage.

Once you’ve received the insurance company’s settlement offer, you may compare the settlement amount to your records of your losses. In some cases, there may be a reasonable explanation for why the insurance company has offered you less than the total losses you’ve claimed to have sustained.

If you choose to make a counteroffer, you or your attorney will do so through formal correspondence that will:

  • State that the insurance company’s settlement offer is unacceptable.
  • Refute statements made by the insurance company that are inaccurate or that are damaging to your case.
  • State a figure that you would accept for settlement.
  • Set forth reasons supporting your counteroffer, including arguments as to why you are entitled to compensation for pain and suffering
  • Provide documentation of financial losses you’ve incurred, including copies of bills, invoices, receipts, and paystubs or income statements.

When the insurance company responds to your counteroffer, the response will indicate how many more rounds of offers may be necessary to reach a settlement, or whether a settlement will reasonably be reached. A Brownsville injury attorney who has experience negotiating with insurance companies can be effective in negotiating on your behalf.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you need experienced, knowledgeable legal representation on your side. Your lawyer can help fight back against the efforts of the insurance companies to reduce the financial compensation you’re owed.

The Brownsville car accident lawyers at Herrman & Herrman are available 24/7 at (361) 882-4357 or online. Reach out to us for a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our skilled personal injury lawyers to learn more about how our firm can help you maximize the value of your car accident claim.