A traumatic brain injury is one of the most serious that you can suffer after an accident. Not only may you suffer permanent effects for the rest of your life, but the expenses associated with it can add up quickly. If you cannot fully recover from your injury, you will need medical and personal care, perhaps for the rest of your life.
Expenses that are associated with traumatic brain injuries can include:
The medical costs associated with a TBI alone can top $1 million for some patients. This figure is before you factor in any other elements of your damages. Your damages can total millions of dollars if you have suffered a serious traumatic brain injury.
An insurance company looks at this situation and sees something that will cost it a lot of money. At the very minimum, you should not have to fight to get the policy maximum for your insurance claim. However, this is exactly what you often need to do based on the realities of dealing with insurance companies.
The insurance company may not even make you an offer at all in the first place. You must first persuade them that their policyholder was liable for your injuries. Before you can even receive a settlement offer that is likely far below what you deserve, you must prove that someone else was to blame for what happened.
The insurance company knows that you have the burden of proof in a personal injury case, and they may deny your claim if they think you do not have enough evidence. It does not matter to them that you have suffered serious injuries; they are most concerned about their own finances. If your case goes to court, you will need to prove your case by a preponderance of the evidence. This means it is more likely than not that the policyholder was liable for causing your injuries.
In any fight, information is the most important thing you can have on your side. The insurance company’s advantage over the usual claimant is that they know far more about your case than you do. They know the exact value of your claim, and they have a strategy about how to avoid paying it to you. They know what similar claims have settled for and what they can get away with in a negotiation. Insurance companies prey on a lack of knowledge and use it to their full advantage.
Before filing an insurance claim, you must equalize and level the playing field with the insurance company. There is one way that you can accomplish this. Hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer gives you information about your legal rights and the value of your claim.
As part of their preparation to file the claim, your attorney can work with experts to learn the exact value of your case. You will know before filing a claim how much you deserve in a settlement. Therefore, the insurance company will not catch you unaware, nor can they pressure you into accepting a settlement that does not fully pay you. Once you have hired an attorney, you have taken away a large amount of the power that the insurance company thinks it has.
Then, you must wrap your head around the fact that the insurance company is not your friend. On the contrary, you should view the insurer as an adversary because that is exactly how they look at you. The insurance company is an intermediary that stands in the shoes of its policyholder based on a legal agreement. They have a legal obligation to defend the policyholder from your lawsuit.
All this means that you should prepare for an adversarial process that might even go to court. Anything you say to the insurance company can go against your claim at a later date. In fact, they are trying to get you on the record and give them information that they can later use to compromise your legal rights.
Negotiating a settlement with the insurance company after a TBI is a clash of your interest versus theirs. In reality, the only thing that should matter is getting the compensation you deserve and need. The insurance company has a legal obligation to pay for your damages up to the amount of the policy maximum. However, insurance companies do not often take their legal obligations seriously. They are for-profit businesses devoted to making money for their shareholders. If your needs and legal rights get in their way, their financial interests are paramount.
The insurance company thinks that time is on its own side after your TBI. In a sense, that is true, but it does not mean that you need to settle a case for far less than it is worth. They are banking on the fact that you may panic in the face of little money coming in and mounting medical bills. They may have a small settlement offer on the table that they think you will eventually accept.
Although it is easier said than done, you must remain patient in the face of the insurance company’s attempts to cut your settlement. They are looking for any signs of weakness that they can use against you. The last thing they want is a patient and determined claimant because they begin to lose some of the leverage they think they have.
You will need to brace yourself for what can be a long battle. Insurance companies are known for doing everything they can to drag out your claim, both because they can keep their own money invested in the stock market and because they think it makes you more desperate. Some things are out of your control. One of those is how long the insurance company will take to respond to your initial claim. It can take several weeks. More often, it can be months.
The first thing that you need to fight with an insurance company after your injury is an experienced attorney. The insurance company will not take you seriously if you try to deal with them on your own. Without a credible threat of litigation, the insurance company knows that everything else is just talk. While insurance companies do everything they can to underpay your claim, the one thing that they do not like is litigation expenses.
Your personal injury lawyer works for you on a contingency basis, meaning you do not need to pay them anything unless and until you win your case. The insurance company must pay their lawyers on a different basis. Insurance defense lawyers get paid per case.
They bill the insurance company per hour they spend defending against your claim. Even when insurance companies use their lawyers to defend cases, they must still pay their attorneys’ salaries and benefits. The more cases they handle, the more attorneys they need to hire.
Therefore, insurance companies know that litigation will cost them money. At a certain point, they may Raise Your settlement offer if you continuously reject their attempts to settle the case for Less. The key is to say no to an offer that does not fairly compensate you for all your damages.
Although insurance companies will go to litigation sometimes, it is not their preferred alternative. When they see that you have an experienced and aggressive lawyer standing up for you, they may be more reasonable. Insurance companies are much more likely to take advantage of people approaching them on their own. They count on you being uninformed and weak, but that perception gets reversed when you have an experienced attorney.
You may need to go to court to get fair compensation after you have suffered a TBI. Juries are much more likely to award you reasonable compensation because they do not have any financial interest in your case. They only have instructions to do what is right based on the evidence and the law.
However, going to a trial has some risks, including:
These risks should never prevent you from going to trial if your lawyer believes it is the right thing to do in your case.
In every case, you weigh all the pros and cons of each course of action. Your accident lawyer advises you about the proper decisions to make based on the current circumstances of your case. It is your attorney’s job to explain everything to you and put you in the best possible position to make decisions in your case.
Without an attorney, you may not have a credible litigation alternative, nor will you know when to take your case to trial. You might think that your only option is to take whatever the insurance company offers you. This is not the case, so having the right attorney is critical after a TBI.
The one certainty in any personal injury case is that the insurance company does not have an unlimited amount of power. Sure, they can make your life more difficult, and their reluctance to pay you can drag out your case. However, they do not have the right or ability to dictate whether you can receive compensation and how much you get. All they can do is make settlement offers and pay you the money if you agree on a deal.
If the insurance company is not making you a reasonable offer, you can figuratively go over their head to a jury. Ultimately, your legal rights can be enforced in court whether the insurance company likes it or not. Since they usually do not like it, they end up being more reasonable on settlement offers the longer you hold out. Although you will not get them to pay you more than your case is worth, you stand a greater chance of getting the amount you deserve.
You need every penny that you can get in a TBI settlement. Not only do you need to know the exact value of your claim now, but you must get the right settlement based on this knowledge. Once you sign a release agreement, you lose the ability to come back for more money in the future. Therefore, you must make all efforts now to get a fair settlement. An experienced personal injury lawyer will ensure you get the best settlement possible for your injuries.
If you make any mistakes now, your lawyer cannot always reverse them in the future. Then, your family may pay the price. You can and should fight the insurance company. It is part of a long-standing process that insurance companies expect. Contact us for a free consultation today.