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The short answer to this question is that it is always important to discuss any injury claim with an experienced Personal Injury Attorney before accepting a settlement from an insurance adjuster. North Carolina insurance companies are compelled by law to investigate all accident injury claims, and they typically use this to uncover any details they can find regarding a contributory negligence claim against an injured driver. Contributory negligence law in North Carolina means that any amount of personal fault for causing an accident that produces injuries will eliminate the potential for an insurance coverage claim or lawsuit against an opposing driver. However, this rarely applies to injured passengers who have no fault in the claim. Insurance agents who actually make a quick offer to settle are often not disclosing that there is more insurance coverage available and that the offer is all the company will allow without the pressure of a court fight. Suggesting a claimant does not need legal counsel could be determined as a bad faith negotiation tactic in a court of law, and a consultation with a personal injury attorney could reveal this possibility. Motorcycle accident lawyers and truck accident lawyers see these cases regularly, and they always advise to discuss the case with an attorney regardless of the potential outcome.
Understanding Bad Faith Tactics
Many times insurance claims adjusters act very cordially when a claim is being submitted without the benefit of solid legal counsel. They will commonly attempt to end a valid claim as soon as possible with what seems to the claimant to be a reasonable settlement. The problem is that these offers rarely include any general damage allowance for long-term implications of the injuries, which are very common in car accidents, truck accidents, and motorcycle accidents. When insurance adjusters realize the company will indeed be required to pay something, they can try a quick settlement offer to stop any further claims. This can be considered bad faith in some situations and experienced motorcycle accident lawyers and truck accident lawyers can file a legal motion requesting more information on coverage while conducting an independent investigation into the accident. Novice claimants do not have this ability or access to the applicable court records as does an attorney, and there could easily be more financial recovery available that includes a potential bad faith lawsuit. It is understood that physical injuries can often place the injured party under financial hardship and that there may then be a pressure to settle via the fastest route. Try to avoid agreeing to a settlement before talking with an attorney, this simple consultation (and often free of cost and obligation) need not slow the process and will generally always result in a higher payout.
Potential Additional Damages
The entire dynamic of an accident injury claim changes when an attorney gets involved. Not only could an insurance adjuster be guilty of bad faith actions in handling the claim, but there could also be much more insurance protection available that is not being communicated to the claimant. Once you sign on the dotted line, the case is over. Insurance claims adjusters know this, and they take advantage of unknowing claimants on a daily basis. That is actually a top priority for an insurance claims agent. They are trained professional negotiators focused on protecting company assets and reducing company liability. A seasoned accident attorney can investigate the case for all potentially liable parties and file all appropriate legal actions in an effort to secure a maximum settlement for their client.
Increased Damage Settlements
There have been numerous studies conducted regarding the amount of compensation injured parties receive when filing an accident claim without legal counsel. Those studies have consistently shown that claimants with legal representation typically get an average of three times as much compensation because of due diligence regarding general damage claims for long-term medical problems and the possibility for punitive damages in seriously egregious cases. Details can make a major difference in the value of an injury claim, and all effective and comprehensive lawyers will focus on details of the case that can increase the total award or settlement.
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