Personal Injury Compensation Offer
Injured persons often receive an initial offer from the insurance company of the person or company that caused their injury. With no experience in personal injury cases and nothing to compare to, the amount of compensation offered may seem significant. But, as experienced personal injury attorneys in Washington and Oregon, we are often asked, is it fair? Should I accept it?
Of course, every case has to be judged on its own merits but it is fairly safe to say “no”, to both questions. The initial offer you have received from the insurance company is not fair. You are almost certainly due a larger sum in compensation.
How can we make such a bold, all-encompassing statement? Well, because claims adjusters are not in the business of fair play. They are not impartial dispensers of financial justice. On the contrary, insurance company claims adjusters are company employees hired by the insurance company to save the insurance company money. It is extremely likely that the claims adjuster handling your case is in line for a generous end-of-year bonus based on how much money he is able to avoid paying out.
Car accident victims or those injured through the negligence of others may be unprepared for the overall ‘niceness' of the claims adjuster handling their case. They forget that he or she is a highly skilled professional who knows it would not be in their best interest to present an adversarial front. They are likely to be friendly, kind and solicitous. After all, they want you accept their advice to accept a paltry compensation – sometimes even before all the ramifications of the injury have come to light.
A common tactic employed by insurance agents is injury minimization. By pressuring or charming you into signing off on an offer for compensation before all the medical tests are complete they may avoid paying out the full sum for what turns out to be a permanent injury.
If the first offer is rejected and the case goes to court, another way that insurance adjusters will try to minimize injury is by presenting their own expert medical doctor who will, almost always, find that your injuries are far less serious than you are claiming. In every case, we would advise that you seek legal counsel before accepting any insurance company offer. Taking advantage of a free consultation at a personal injury firm like Schauermann Thayer Jacobs Staples & Edwards PS enables you to discuss the merits of the case with advisers who will let you know whether, in their experienced opinion, you should take the case to trail.
Household Insurance Compensation Offer
The above section describes a situation where the injured party is fighting for compensation for a personal injury or wrongful death case from the negligent party's insurance company. However, it is sadly not unusual for individuals to find themselves in the unpleasant position of having to fight for compensation from their own insurance company.
This situation is discussed in length in our Prepare a Home Inventory BEFORE a Home Crisis and Homeowner Insurance posts. As those articles outline, there can be a very big difference between the happy and caring facade home insurance companies present in their corporate ad campaigns and the flint-eyed reality you might face if you ever try to obtain fair compensation from them.
A homeowner insurance policy is a hefty document that can contain several areas that can be open to interpretation. Should the insurance company decide to play hard ball, the homeowner can be left confused over the sum of compensation they have been offered. Just as you should consider legal representation before resolving a personal injury claim, you should consider legal representation before handling a homeowners claim. Only after consultation with an experienced attorney will you know if the amounts being offered by an insurance adjuster are fair.