CAN I NEGOTIATE WITH THE INSURANCE COMPANY AFTER MY CAR ACCIDENT IN NEW YORK?
May 5, 2020 | Car Accidents ||
QUEENS CAR ACCIDENT LAWYERS EXPLAIN WHY YOU SHOULD NOT NEGOTIATE WITH THE INSURANCE COMPANY AFTER A CAR WRECK WITHOUT A LAWYER
Many victims hurt in a serious or catastrophic car accident ask the same question: Can I negotiate with the insurance company after my car accident in New York, or do I need a lawyer? After all, most of us have had to negotiate a bill down or negotiate with a salesperson. But negotiating with an insurance company after a car accident is not the same thing as negotiating with an internet provider or farmer’s market seller. Queens car accidents can result in serious and debilitating personal injuries, including extreme pain and suffering, lost wages, lost future earnings, loss of consortium, medical bills, future medical expenses, and many other damages related to the claim. Car accidents can also be hotly contested, especially at intersections or on highways. Trying to negotiate with the insurance company is only asking for your claim to be underpaid.
REASONS WHY IT IS NOT A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD TO TRY TO NEGOTIATE WITH THE INSURANCE COMPANY WITHOUT A LAWYER
In addition to the inherent traps of motor vehicle accidents, insurance companies are not on a level playing field with you. This is because insurance companies have the following advantages:
- Insurance companies specifically train adjusters to act like your friend to get your guard down, but then ask certain questions which get you to admit things that may not be true but sound plausible. This is in an effort to shift blame to you for the accident or to minimize your personal injuries.
- Most insurance adjusters are supported by a silent attorney. Thus, even if you think that you are negotiating with an insurance adjuster, there is usually an attorney overseeing a group of insurance adjusters and helping with researching, drafting arguments, and valuing cases. This is simply not a level playing field if you go to negotiate with an insurance company who has a lawyer and you do not.
- Years of experience also makes negotiating more difficult. Insurance adjusters handle hundreds if not thousands of claims every year. The more claims they handle, they more adept they get. If you are handling a big car accident claim for the first time, an insurance adjuster will be able to see that immediately and begin to exploit your inexperience.
CONSEQUENCES OF NEGOTIATING WITH THE INSURANCE COMPANY ALONE
Insurance adjusters are trained to shift blame to you and to minimize your claim. This burns the preverbal candle at both ends because adjusters are really acting like lawyers by contesting liability and damages. Most of the time this is at the advice of silent lawyers you will never know are helping the insurance company.
For instance, shifting blame is a defense liability tactic. It is apportioning fault between the victim and the defendant. This is because New York is a comparative fault state, which means that a victim who is partially at fault for causing the car accident will have his or her case reduced by that percentage of fault. By way of example, if a victim is 20% at fault and is awarded $100,000, the victim may only recover $80,000. Defense lawyers and insurance adjusters want to shift that comparative fault percentage as high as possible.
In addition, minimizing your injuries is lowering your damages in an action. “Damages” is the relief that a victim may recover in a legal action. In personal injury actions such as car accidents, damages is compensatory in nature. The largest type of damages is pain and suffering, which is non-economic. This means that it cannot be calculated like lost wages or medical bills. Rather, pain and suffering is the objective and subjective value of the injury caused by the agony, pain, suffering, and effect of the injury. Generally speaking, the higher the pain and suffering, the higher the compensation that a victim may be entitled to. But if an insurance company minimizing that pain and suffering by getting you to admit to it being less severe, it could take your $100,000 case and make it more like a $60,000 case.
But if you really look how the insurance company is shifting your blame to 20% at fault and minimizing your damages to $60,000, your case with a lawyer could be $100,000 but on your own it could be $48,000. That is a huge difference.
THE REAL REASON WHY YOU SHOULD NOT NEGOTIATE WITH AN INSURANCE COMPANY ALONE: PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS DO NOT COST ANY UPFRONT MONEY
Simply put, if you are negotiating with the insurance company by yourself you are almost guaranteeing to not get the compensation that you deserve under New York law. But the most important reason why you should not negotiate with the insurance company yourself is because personal injury lawyers do not cost any money upfront. This is because lawyers like ours at COHEN & COHEN PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS, P.C. , use a contingency fee agreement. This means that you do not owe us any upfront money for your court filing fees, medical reports, or paying us to start working on your case. You only owe us money once we collect a settlement or court award, and we only receive a percentage of that amount. There is simply no risk to hire our experienced Queens car accident lawyers. Learn how we can help protect your rights to compensation by calling (718) 275-7779 for a FREE case evaluation or use our convenient and easy-to-use contact us box available here.