Dealing With the Insurance Company
If your injuries are minor, such as temporary aches and pains from a modest rear-end collision, you can probably do as well on your own by simply contacting the insurance company of the person who injured you and negotiating a settlement.
Remember that the insurance company adjuster’s first offer is not their best offer, so be prepared to make a counteroffer and negotiate back and forth until you are satisfied the adjuster has given you their highest offer.
When potential clients call and give me a brief description of their injuries, I can usually advise them over the phone whether it’s a claim they can negotiate on their own or one for which they will likely get more damages with the help of an attorney.
If your injuries are more serious, then you are probably better served by asking an experienced attorney to help you. Once you retain an attorney, that decision will take the pressure off of your shoulders.
Your attorney will contact the insurance company of the person who injured you and handles your case from that point forward. When anyone contacts you about the case, you can simply refer to that person to your attorney.
Settling Out of Court
If your attorney is experienced, they will know what kinds of damages you are entitled to recover, and what your total damages are worth. Your attorney will gather all the medical records and other pertinent documents, and then prepare and submit a demand package to the insurance company.
Your attorney will conduct settlement negotiations with the insurance company on your behalf and keep you advised of their progress.
If your attorney has a good reputation within the insurance industry, they will usually be able to get you a favorable settlement without filing suit. Over 90% of the cases I handle are settled to the satisfaction of my clients without needing to file a lawsuit.
In the event it becomes necessary to file suit, your attorney will prepare a formal “Complaint” in your behalf and file it in district court and arrange for it to be served on the party who injured you. Even after filing suit, an experienced attorney will get most cases settled without a trial. Your attorney will guide you through this process.
Taking Care of You
When you approve a final settlement, your attorney will review all settlement documents, and protect you by making sure any outstanding medical bills, liens or subrogation claims are resolved as part of the settlement, so that no one can make a claim against you after the case is settled.
Your attorney will also negotiate reductions of such medical bills, liens, or subrogation claims, to put the maximum dollar amount in your pocket when the settlement is finalized.
Gary Montgomery is one of Idaho’s senior attorneys. He began his career as Assistant Attorney General for Idaho, and then as Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Idaho. He has tried over 100 cases, and has a remarkable win/loss record, prevailing over 90% of the time. He has represented clients in cases resulting in millions in settlements and verdicts.