Talk To A Washington, D.C. Personal Injury Attorney Before Accepting An Insurance Settlement Offer

By Peter DePaolis

If you’ve suffered a personal injury, there’s a good chance the defendant’s insurance company will make a settlement offer. Insurers know that your goal is to get your life back on track, so they routinely exploit this to make unrealistically low offers. Although it’s tempting to take that offer so you can put the injury behind you, there’s a lot to lose with a bad settlement. Before you accept an insurance company’s offer, speak with an experienced Washington, D.C. personal injury lawyer.

Why You Should Talk to an Attorney Before Accepting a Settlement

The more serious your personal injuries, the more medical treatment you will need down the road. That means the medical bills you face now could only be the beginning. Unknown injuries take time to reveal themselves, and the injuries you know about may become more severe with time. You, therefore, have to assume that there’s a high probability of significant medical expenses in your future.

But insurance companies aren’t interested in waiting, and they want you to accept an offer now. Let’s assume you do so, and you start to develop health problems related to the injury later. You can just request more money from the defendant and insurance company, right? Wrong. To accept the offer, you have to sign settlement papers that waive any future claims you might have otherwise had against the at-fault party or the insurer.

Insurance companies are businesses; they exist to keep profits high, which means keeping expenses – including personal injury lawsuit settlements – as low as possible. An insurance representative may sound sympathetic to your injuries on the phone, but at the end of the day, the insurance company’s job is to make money. That means getting rid of your case as quickly and inexpensively as possible with the lowest offer they can get away with.

To get what they want, insurance companies employ a variety of devious tactics. One of those is to ask the victim to give a recorded statement about the injury. This is usually done very soon after the incident takes place. There are two good reasons to talk to a Washington, D.C. personal injury attorney before speaking with the insurance representative. First, you probably don’t have all the facts yet about the injury. There’s a good chance, for example, you don’t know the at-fault driver was intoxicated or driving recklessly at the time of the accident.

Second, these recorded statements can come back to haunt you later. Insurance adjusters are trained to ask questions that may trick you into inadvertently “admitting” facts that make it appear either you were negligent or the defendant was not. Right after an injury, you’re probably not thinking clearly, and you’re certainly not anticipating dishonest questions from the insurer. But saying too much can seriously jeopardize your case.

An experienced Washington, D.C. personal injury attorney is well aware of these strategies. That’s why the right attorney will fully investigate the incident to make sure you get the compensation you really need for your injuries. While present damages are hard enough to quantify, future ones can be much more speculative. But with the input of expert witnesses, it’s possible to determine a fair dollar value for your case.

Contact Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP Today

Insurance companies have skilled attorneys ready to fight for the worst settlements they can get away with. Shouldn’t you have someone fighting for you? Let Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP help. Schedule your consultation with us today.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.