What Insurance Adjustors Don’t Want You to Know
Idaho Personal Injuries Attorneys
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, you will probably get a call from an insurance adjuster. Here are twelve secrets the adjuster will likely not tell you.
Q: This accident was not my fault, but I am still suffering from some of the injuries. What can I expect from the careless driver's insurance company?
A: The other driver's insurance company will probably call you. The insurance adjuster might offer to pay your medical bills and lost wages to get a quick settlement. But don't be fooled; by Idaho law you may also be entitled to money for your pain and suffering, and changes in your lifestyle.
Q: Everybody keeps talking about PIP and no fault. Just what is that?
A: PIP stands for Personal Injury Protection. Sometimes the adjuster will use the words "no fault." That is the same thing as PIP. Virtually every Idaho car insurance policy includes PIP coverage. To get benefits from PIP, you should call an adjuster from your own insurance company (or the insurance covering the car you were in). If you were a pedestrian, call the insurance company for the car that hit you. Ordinarily, you do not need an attorney to get these PIP benefits. And these PIP benefits should be paid no matter who was at fault in causing the accident (thus the term "no fault"). At Montgomery Law we normally charge no fee or percentage on the benefits you receive under PIP coverage.PIP insurance usually pays for 4 things:
- Medical Expenses: Usually the insurance company will pay your medical expenses, up to the limit of your PIP coverage.
- Wage Loss: If you were employed at the time of the accident and lost time from work because of the accident, you are probably entitled to lost wage benefits.
- Household Expenses: If you are unable to perform your regular household chores, or need assistance, you may be entitled to certain household benefits.
- Death Benefit: In case of a death, the heirs are probably eligible for a death benefit, plus funeral expenses.
Now here is the curve-ball. The careless driver's insurance company must generally pay your insurance company back for the PIP benefits paid to you. If you are not careful, you might accept a settlement, thinking that all of that money goes back in your pocket- only to learn later that part of the money you thought you would get from the settlement, actually goes to your own insurance company to repay PIP. Sound complicated? It is. Be safe. Call us.
Q: The accident caused some pretty bad injuries. I'm not sure what the future holds, but the insurance adjuster wants me to sign a settlement now. What should I do?
A: It's almost always a big mistake to settle too soon. The careless driver's insurance company may be required to pay all medical bills and lost wages - past and future. Before we settle cases, we contact your doctors to get estimates of future medical expenses and possible future changes to your lifestyle. On the other hand, if you wait too long, your claim might be banned by certain time restrictions. Be safe. Call us.
Q: I am all confused. The insurance adjuster is talking about all different types of insurance: underinsured coverage, uninsured coverage, and liability insurance. What do I do?
A: This is where Montgomery Law helps you. There are many types of insurance. Depending on the circumstances, you might be entitled to benefits from more than one policy. But be careful. The insurance adjuster who calls you probably represents only the liability insurance for the other driver. If you sign the release he gives you, you might lose your rights to get benefits from other types of insurance.
Q: The insurance adjuster says the accident was partly my fault, so he wants to make a lower settlement. Can he do that?
A: Yes and no. By Idaho law, your settlement or recovery gets reduced by the percentage of your fault. Thus, if you are 10% at fault, your settlement or recovery would be reduced by 10%. If you are 30% at fault, your settlement or recovery would be reduced by 30%. If you are 50% or more at fault, Idaho law says you get nothing. Here is the twist. The insurance adjuster might say that he has done an investigation which shows that you are 30% at fault. But maybe the adjuster is stretching it. You don't have to accept his word. Again, call us. We will help.
Q: I was a passenger injured in an accident caused by a friend. Can I still recover without causing my friend financial hardship?
A: Yes. Even if your accident was caused by a friend or family member, you can usually be compensated. A claim can be made against the insurance company with nothing out of the pocket of your friend or family member, even though they caused the accident.
Q: In the past, my family has used a general practice attorney for wills and family law issues. Is it really necessary to retain an attorney who specializes in accident/injury law?
A: At Montgomery Law we work daily with numerous insurance companies and keep current with the specialized laws and regulations affecting accident cases. We have a substantial amount of experience in handling cases like yours. As a result, we know how to get you the highest possible settlement or jury verdict.
Q: My medical bills are mounting up and my good credit is being jeopardized. What can I do to stop possible lawsuits and judgments?
A: Montgomery Law can often negotiate with your medical providers to delay collection actions until you get a settlement. Sometimes we can even help you find other available medical insurance that you did not know about.
Q: I thought about negotiating my claim on my own. How do I know if the insurance adjuster's offer is fair and reasonable?
A: You don't. The fair settlement value of your case depends on many facts and issues. Remember, the adjuster works for the insurance company - not for you. His job is to get the lowest possible settlement. Our attorneys are knowledgeable, experienced, and work only for you. Our job is to get the highest possible settlement for you.
Q: Why does the insurance adjuster recommend that I not hire an attorney?
A: Probably because insurance settlements handled without an attorney are usually cheaper for the insurance company. Some people make settling their claim a "do it yourself" project to save money. Oftentimes, an attorney can point out rights and remedies you are entitled to which the insurance company is not obligated to tell you about. Injury law is probably not something you are well acquainted with. The insurance companies certainly know that. Let the professionals at Montgomery Law help you through this process.
Q: Should I hire a lawyer now or wait for the insurance company to make me a first offer?
A: You certainly have every right to wait for the insurance company's offer before calling an attorney. However, in the meantime, the insurance company will want to take recorded statements from you and other persons involved in the accident. You will not have appropriate representation to safeguard your interests in this phase of the case. Information a lawyer might use to benefit your case may become unavailable or lost by the time you seek legal counsel. The insurance company is working on the case within days of the accident occurring. You should also have appropriate representation as soon as possible so that your interests are safeguarded.
Q: If I hire an attorney, does that mean my case will end up in a trial?
A: No. Most cases are settled without a trial. In fact, less than 5% of such cases actually end up in a trial. But if the insurance company knows that you and your lawyer are ready for a trial, they often will pay more money in settlements. Sometimes we also get cases resolved by arbitration or mediation - both of which are much faster and less stressful than a trial.