How to Handle an Insurance Dispute after an Auto Accident

How to Handle an Insurance Dispute after an Auto Accident
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In a perfect world, collisions would never happen and auto insurance companies wouldn’t even be necessary. In reality, thousands of people are injured and killed in motor vehicle accidents in the state of Arizona alone. Dealing with car insurance companies after collisions is unavoidable. The nature of these dealings varies drastically from case to case. Sometimes, the claims process will go smoothly and claimants get their deserved settlement without difficulty. Other times, insurance disputes arise.

Are you in the middle of a disagreement with an insurance company after an accident?

Disputes are, unfortunately, common. They take a number of different forms, but all have a similar root problem: the insurance company doesn’t want to pay. Insurance companies are in the business of making a profit, and will do whatever they can do minimize your payment. This can take the form of denying your claim outright, trying to shift the blame onto you, or offering you a settlement that is far less than what you deserve.

If this is happening to you, finding an experienced trail ready law firm could provide a great financial decision. Attorneys handle many auto accident cases and know exactly how to maximize results for clients.  The majority of the time the amount of money an accident recovers when using an attorney outweighs self-representing, and the victim doesn’t have to deal with the constant frustrations.

Keeping the aforementioned in mind, not all cases may need a lawyer to represent. If you were involved in a very minor accident without sustained injuries, for example, an attorney may turn away the case for lack of cause. If this is your current situation the following tips may help if you must deal with the insurance company on your own to maximize your results:

Advice when dealing with an insurance company when an attorney is not an option

More than likely when receiving an offer from an insurance company your first reaction may not be “excitement” or “gratitude”. If you feel the amount is not fair keep in mind you are not required to accept it. Since they have a range in mind, the first offer will probably be pretty low. Take into consideration the following four tips to maximize your results.

  • Keep it together no matter what – It is easy for tempers to rise when dealing with the insurance companies, but do your best to stay calm at all times. Believe it or not this will prove a better solution for you when self-representing.
  • Get your own appraisal – You may not even be aware that you can do this. The insurance companies have their own appraisals, which to no surprise are paid to keep it low. This will cost some money but may be well worth it by adding the to outcome.
  • Mediate – Having an unbiased third party moderator when dealing with the insurance company through mediation could be a good option for you if you feel as if you are being taken advantage of. Since this is a non-binding form of discussion it has some benefits but keep in mind neither side has to agree to the discussed terms.
  • Small claims court – If you are not obtaining results you can consider taking the insurance company to small claims court. You do not need an attorney and have the right to discuss your case in front of a judge.

Final considerations

Even if you have already begun dealing with an insurance company and feel that they are not being fair it may not be too late to hiring an car accident lawyer to take over the case. It is always a good idea to research through credible sources and referrals when it comes to searching for an attorney. If you decide to use a law firm make sure they are trial lawyers. This means that, while not all cases go to trial, the firm is experienced in the courtroom and trial-ready. A firm that is prepared to go to trial from the beginning can and will serve your needs to the end.

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About the author

Thomas Richardson

Tommy Richardson, owner and president of the AV-Rated law firm of Friedl Richardson Trial Lawyers in Phoenix, focuses exclusively on personal injury and medical malpractice cases. Since 2009, Tommy has sat on the Board of Governors for Arizona Trial Lawyers and in 2011 was appointed by Governor Jan Brewer and confirmed by the Arizona Senate to the Maricopa Judicial Selection Committee. Tommy represents plaintiffs in trial work in Maricopa, Greenlee, Pima, Pinal, Mohave, Yuma, Apache, Gila, Cochise, La Paz, Coconino and Navajo counties. Tommy is the co-chair of the seminar committee for the Arizona Association for Justice/Arizona Trial Lawyers and is involved in the American Association for Justice and American Trial Lawyers.