Every personal injury victim in Los Angeles County is unique. The same garden variety rear-ends car accident can produce completely different consequences for people, depending on their past experiences, natural predisposition, and even something seemingly unrelated to their current family situation.
A busy mother of four, who has never been in a car accident before, who exercises regularly, has no preexisting conditions and has the care and support of her family and friends to fall back on may simply shake off the whole event, get her car repaired and not even feel any injuries. She may forget about the entire thing in about a month.
This is the scenario that Los Angeles County insurance claims adjusters have in their minds when a claim comes through the door. And probably, the majority of all Los Angeles rear-end car accidents mimic this pattern and get resolved amicably to the claimant's satisfaction.
The issues arise when the claimant deviates from the standard textbook example.
Case Example of Personal Injury Victim with History of Prior Accidents
For instance, Gertrude, a 50-year-old swim instructor with an extensive history of prior accidents. As a young girl, she's been assaulted and suffered a traumatic brain injury.
Gertrude lives alone and has no family or friends to rely on. The car accident shook her to the core and brought back all of the memories of the pain and anxiety she suffered throughout her life.
Although she's been symptom-free for over ten years before her accident, this minor rear-end car accident caused her post-concussive symptoms to come back with a vengeance.
Gertrude quit her job as a swim instructor and holed up in her apartment, suffering from excruciating psychosomatic pain.
Gertrude is a classic example of an eggshell plaintiff. She is the outlier, an extremely fragile person who breaks a lot easier than most and suffers debilitating consequences from a seemingly minor injury. But the insurance adjuster doesn't know this.
Without an adequate explanation and diagnosis, they will think that Gertrude is exaggerating, trying to increase the value of her claim unfairly. She will lose credibility, and her claim may be rejected entirely.
Fortunately, Gertrude hired our Los Angeles personal injury law firm early on in her case. Our attorneys were able to document her symptoms right from the start and follow up with all of her treating physicians to ensure her diagnosis was consistent with the claim.
Our law firm hired the experts to explain Gertrude's condition and establish a direct link between her current symptoms and the collision.
We have anticipated all of the tricks that insurance companies use to minimize the value of victims' claims and made sure that we had a ready response for the defense's most common curveballs.
See our related blog: How Insurance Companies Try to Limit Your Recovery.
What You Should Know When Dealing With Insurance Companies
One of the reasons the insurance companies frequently stonewall self-represented litigants is leverage.
The threat of litigation, the expense, and potential exposure to the defendant are the driving forces behind any successful claim.
The insurance companies know that the chances of someone without a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer bringing a lawsuit are minimal. Therefore, they are much more likely to simply ignore or lowball demands that come from victims without an attorney. One of the most complicated issues after a car accident is dealing with the insurance company.
Typically after a few days of the car accident, an insurance claims adjuster will contact you to settle the claim as soon as possible.
To help you avoid accepting a lowball settlement, there are several things you should be aware of when dealing with a California insurance company:
- Insurance claims adjusters are trained negotiators – Don't be fooled. Despite their friendliness and apparent compassion about your injuries, they are not looking out for your best interest. The main job of an insurance adjuster is to protect the insurance company's best interest. They are specifically trained to minimize the amount of money paid out on every claim. This includes your claim. They will often deny a claim or not recognize the total value of a personal injury case.
- Insurance companies are under no obligation to treat you fairly – This fact is especially actual if you are involved in a car accident in Los Angeles where the other driver was clearly at fault. You are attempting to file a claim against their insurance company. This applies even if the at-fault driver cooperates with the insurance company. They can still deny or delay paying your share. Typically, this is why their first offer is a lowball offer.
- Don't automatically accept the first insurance settlement offer – In most car accident cases, it's not a fair offer. Insurance adjusters understand that most people need money right away to get their car repaired or pay medical expenses. They know Los Angeles car accident victims are vulnerable in these early stages and will almost always offer a lowball settlement soon after the accident.
- Insurance companies will try to avoid paying your medical expenses – As part of their effort to minimize your settlement offer, the claims adjuster might make a suggestion you are not being truthful about the extent of your injuries and might even suggest you are attempting to commit fraud. In some cases, like the example of our client Gertrude above, they might claim your damages were part of a pre-existing condition. This is especially true if you did not go to the hospital emergency room immediately following your car accident.
- Statements you make to an insurance company will be used against you – Insurance claims adjusters in Los Angeles want you to agree with them on their version of the car accident. Don't make the mistake of giving statements to an adjuster. Please don't agree to the questions they ask you. Never provide a recorded message or sign any settlement agreement until you have consulted with a personal injury attorney at our law firm.
The key factor to always remember when you are getting a lowball offer from an insurance company after a car accident is their main goal is to settle your claim for the least amount possible.
They are not your friend. It's in your best interest to consult with a Los Angeles, personal injury lawyer to review your car accident details and discuss legal options.
Contact Our Personal Injury Attorneys
Having an experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer on your side is essential.
It not only gives you a voice where you would otherwise be ignored, but it also helps you maximize the value of your case by structuring it in a way that preserves and develops all of your potential claims.
If you have been injured in a car accident due to negligence, let our injury attorneys review the details.
Our lawyers are experienced in handling car accident cases and will deal with the insurance company to make sure you receive fair compensation for your injuries.
Call our office at 310-734-7974 for a free case evaluation.