Car Accident Settlements & Insurance Companies

Insurance Companies and Car Accident Settlements | Allen Accident Law Fort Collins, CO

Insurance companies who defend car accident cases, against those injured in car accidents, frequently will try to settle a case for pennies on the dollar (before the injured victim gets an attorney).

INSURANCE COMPANIES ARE NOT IN BUSINESS TO GIVE YOU A FAIR SETTLEMENT

Please remember that insurance companies do not have your best interests in mind when they offer you a token settlement at the start of your case.

INSURANCE COMPANIES WILL PERSUADE YOU TO ENTER INTO CAR ACCIDENT SETTLEMENTS VERY EARLY IN THE PROCESS

Most people don’t even know the extent of their injuries when first injured in a car accident, but the at-fault driver’s insurance company may offer you $1,000-$2,000 on the day of the accident for car accident settlements. Why? These insurance carriers offer a small settlement in the hopes that you will take it and not hire a car accident lawyer who specializes in car accident cases.

EVERY CASE COMES DOWN TO MONEY AND HOW MUCH MONEY CAN THE INSURANCE COMPANY SAVE ON CAR ACCIDENT SETTLEMENTS 

The insurance companies play a numbers game. If the insurance company can resolve a case in a car accident settlements quickly for a low amount of money, the more profit they will make by the end of the year.

YOUR CASE VALUE GOES UP WHEN YOU HIRE A CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY

The insurance companies know that once you hire an experienced car accident attorney, the attorney will demand much higher car accident settlements than a layperson. In fact, insurance companies have claim’s adjusters that only work with injured persons. It is their job to contact them very quickly and offer them a very low settlement. A lot of people take this very low settlement because they may be afraid to hire an attorney or may desperately need the money, no matter how little it may be. Once a case is settled, you cannot go to a car accident attorney and re-open your case. Once you settle your case, you are stuck forever with that very low settlement. Insurance companies are not very good at explaining this fact and often have you sign a Release that you cannot understand.

It basically comes down to money and profit from the standpoint of the insurance companies. Insurance companies do not believe in you and do not believe in your injuries. They believe that the majority of people injured in car accidents are merely making a claim for the money and not because they are injured. In other words, they look at each claimant very suspiciously and even run background checks to see if you have been injured before or have filed a lawsuit for injuries in the past.

IT IS ALWAYS ABOUT MONEY

Every case comes down to money and how much money can they save per claim. That is why it is extremely important that if you are injured in a car accident, hire an attorney immediately to guide you through this process. Without an attorney, the insurance companies will and are trained to take advantage of you. Many insurance adjusters receive bonuses if they are able to keep car accident settlements under a certain number.

REMEMBER: The insurance companies play the numbers game. The more quick and low car accident settlements, the better the profit they can make as an insurance company

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DON’T SETTLE YOUR CASE TOO EARLY

Let’s say that you have been in physical therapy for a few months. An MRI is taken and you have sustained a herniated disc in your back.  If you settle your car accident settlements to early and then you end up needing back or neck surgery six months in the future, your case is over and you will have to pay for that surgery out of your own pocket! Thus, it is crucial that one does not settle their case without the advice of a very experienced car accident attorney like myself who specializes in car accident cases. I know the value of different injuries and I know how to advise clients on what settlement offers to make and what offers from the insurance carriers should be declined.

Many times, in their efforts to save money, insurance companies will offer low settlements despite serious injuries. What do you do in this situation? Unfortunately, when insurance companies fail to properly offer what your case is worth, then a lawsuit must be filed. Lawsuits should not be taken lightly and you should discuss the advantages and disadvantages thoroughly with your car accident attorney.

Once you settle your case for pennies on the dollar, or for a small amount and sign a Release, your case is over forever.

A LAWSUIT CAN BE FILED WHERE THE ACCIDENT HAPPENED OR WHERE THE DEFENDANT DRIVER RESIDES 

Thus, if a defendant driver resides in Fort Collins, Colorado but the accident happened in Boulder, Colorado you have the choice to file your lawsuit in Fort Collins or Boulder. Boulder has been traditionally a very liberal community with high jury verdicts due to the liberal nature of their population. Most experienced car accident attorneys would choose Boulder in this particular car accident. Your car accident attorney should always choose the city which is know for higher jury verdicts if he or she can do that.

MOST CASES SETTLE BEFORE TRIAL

It is estimated that close to 95% of all personal injury and car accident lawsuits settle prior to the picking of a jury. In other words, the chances of your case going through an actual jury trial are slim at best. Everyone knows this, but sometimes the insurance company would like to roll the dice and see if they can get a defense verdict. Other times, your car accident attorney will feel it is more appropriate to file a lawsuit and take the risk in order to get a higher car accident settlements.

LAWSUITS and CAR ACCIDENT SETTLEMENTS

There are many opportunities to settle your case throughout the litigation process. Once a Complaint is filed in District Court, an Answer is filed by the defendant driver’s attorney. The defendant driver’s attorney is hired by the driver’s insurance company and paid by the driver’s insurance company. I used to be a defense attorney myself, in my early years as a car accident attorney.

After an Answer is filed, discovery takes place and each side gets to “discover” the other side’s facts and reasons for their claims and defenses. Normally, the Judge in each case will order both sides to attend a Mediation which provides another opportunity to present your case to a Mediator. A Mediator is usually a retired Judge and he can offer his advice and suggestions while trying to get the case settled that very day. If the case does not settle at Mediation, then the case will proceed towards trial.

A car accident settlement is also limited to what the at-fault driver carries in bodily injury liability coverage. In Colorado, every driver is required to carry a minimum of $25,000 in bodily injury liability coverage. So in this situation, $25,000 is usually the maximum amount of money that you can recover from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

It is estimated that close to 95% of all personal injury and car accident lawsuits settle prior to the picking of a jury or actual closing statements

For example, let’s say that another driver slams into the rear of your car while you are stopped at a stoplight. Maybe the other driver was texting and did not notice that you were stopped. This driver carries only $25,000 in BI coverage with GEICO. Thus, no matter how seriously you are injured and say you have incurred $40,000 in medical bills, you can only get the $25,000 in BI coverage from Geico. That is your settlement limit. 

PLEASE PURCHASE UNINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE

This may seem unfair to a lot of people. But, this is why I always recommend that everyone carry underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage. It costs a little more, but if you have this UIM/UM coverage and are injured by a driver who has the minimum state coverage ($25,000), then you can recover more money for your case by adding on the UIM coverage from your own insurance company.

For example, let’s say you are one of the intelligent drivers out there and had a wise insurance agent who talked you into purchasing $100,000 in UIM/UM coverage. In this situation (above), you would be able to settle with the other driver for $25,000 and then make a settlement demand to your own insurance carrier for the $100,000 (if your injuries are worth that much, of course). If your injuries are very minor and are not worth more than $25,000, then you would not be able to pursue a claim under your own UIM/UM coverage.

THERE ARE MANY HIDDEN PITFALLS IN CAR ACCIDENT SETTLEMENTS

There are so many different examples of what can happen in car accident cases that you need the advice of an experienced car accident or personal injury attorney. I have a variety of practice areas and I specialize in car accident cases and have done so for more than 24 years.

I can properly advise you on the correct and fair car accident settlements in your factually unique car accident case. Every car accident case is different and every car accident case carries a unique and different car accident settlements value. Do not settle your case without the help of an experienced car accident attorney or the insurance adjusters will take advantage of you. God bless and be safe out there!