Interviewer: Is there any commonality in the people that get into auto accidents; younger, older, men, women? Any particular circumstance that leads people to have this happen to them?
Roy Comer: There are some commonalities, but there are also distinctions. On the one hand, there is no commonality because auto collisions can happen almost anytime to almost anyone and each person is different. On the other hand, there is some commonality in low impact collisions;the insurance carriers just do not concede that anyone can get hurt. I can identify with this because while I was in college, I was rear-ended in a relatively low impact collision and suffered serious injuries that included a concussion. I was forced to drop out of school for two quarters. I remember that the insurance company representative and the defense attorney did not believe that I could be hurt; but I was hurt. As a result of that experience, I can identify with those people who have the insurance company say, “You couldn’t have been hurt in an accident like that,” and then make a “low-ball” offer to settle.
Dealing with Insurance Companies in an Accident Case is Not an Easy or Pleasant Task
Interviewer: What about the insurance companies themselves? Do people think that it’s easy to get money out of them and they’ll kind of rollover if the fault is obvious?
Roy Comer: That is a frequent misconception. In my experience, the claims representatives are trying to settle their files for as little money as possible. Furthermore, many insurance companies use proprietary computer programs to evaluate the value of the case. I think that process is wrong because it “pigeon-holes” the injured person based on just a few important facts. It takes experience and skill on the part of the attorney to break the insurance company out of that position.
Insurance Companies Try to Save Money and are Generally Not Concerned with Compensating the Claimant for Injuries
It didn’t use to be this way. Not too long ago, claims adjusters actually looked at all the factors that are involved in the case and they would make an evaluation based on those, rather than relying on a computer program. But now, the best plaintiff’s lawyers know how to present all of the factors in the light most favorable to their client in order to show the true value of the case.
Adjusters Try to Work their Way Up the Corporate Ladder in Insurance Companies
Interviewer: What if that’s due to prior interactions with the claims adjusters? Are the adjusters not able to work with you even if they want to?
Roy Comer: Like almost any company, employees work their way up with greater and greater responsibility based on performance. This is true within the insurance industry as well. The better attorneys make sure the insurance company assigns the file to an adjuster with appropriate and sufficient authority to settle a claim. To do so, the attorney must almost immediately adjust the insurance company’s range of the potential recovery so that the client’s claim doesn’t get under evaluated
It is Advisable to Contact an Attorney at the Earliest Instance Following an Accident
For many reasons, it is important to talk to an attorney right away. (1) Your attorney can relieve you of the burden of unnecessary harassment from the dangerous driver’s insurance company representative. (2) Your attorney can help coordinate appropriate medical care. (3) Your attorney can preserve evidence necessary to present your claim. (4) Your attorney can locate the appropriate insurance. (5) Your attorney can prevent your claim from being downgraded right from the beginning. If a potential client talks to an experienced attorney relatively quickly, he or she can contact the dangerous driver’s insurance company to make sure the case is prepared properly to avoid the frustration of trying to get an insurance company to take the case seriously.