I am sometimes asked how I think the insurance company would treat my client’s personal injury or auto accident claim if he or she did not hire me or another lawyer to help. Over 19 years doing this work, I have had a glimpse of that scenario from time to time, most recently just yesterday.
The wife of a friend was involved in an automobile vs. bicycle accident a few months ago. She was on the bike, and the car driver was clearly at fault for the collision. Her injuries involved some broken bones and several months of medical treatment.
My friend is very bright and educated, and just wanted some advice as to how to handle the inurance claim, rather than hire an attorney. I gave him the best guidance I could, without directly representing his wife. Now, months later, he came in to discuss the top offer she has received to settle her injury claim. The offer is considerably lower than what I believe a reasonable person (or juror) would have deemed as the value of her losses. I am confident that, even after paying me, she would have had two to three times more compensation for the harm this collision caused her. I also know that insurance companies do not easily change their position once they have done the evaluation–which is influenced by whether a person has a lawyer or not. So at this late point in the process, I am not sure how much we can help–except to start the litigation process by filing a complaint with the court.
This experience is very common in the cases that I see after someone has tried to resolve an injury claim on their own. It really does seem that an accident injury claimant will be better off hiring a good personal injury lawyer.