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Should You Speak with a Lawyer Before Talking to Your Insurance Company?

Should You Speak with a Lawyer Before Talking to Your Insurance Company?

On paper, insurance companies are supposed to provide emergency relief when you are seriously and unexpectedly injured. That relief should include benefits like compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses. Unfortunately, those benefits often don’t appear when you need them. 

There are several ways to try to get an insurance company to pay what it owes. The best ways, though, almost all involve a lawyer. This begs the question of whether you should contact a lawyer before you know if there will be difficulties. 

Insurance Companies Are Businesses 

The first thing you need to understand about insurance companies is that they are corporations that are beholden to their stockholders. This means that the main goal of any insurance company is to make money, and insurance companies make money by paying as little in insurance benefits as they can get away with. 

Thus, the insurance company has every reason to deny or undervalue your claim and almost no reason to pay you the full value of your claim. 

The Insurance Company Controls the Insurance Process 

Not only do insurance companies benefit from undervaluing claims, but there are also almost no safeguards in the process to prevent them from doing it. Insurance companies investigate the claim, determine whether it is a valid claim, and decide the value of that claim if it is approved. 

There is pretty much nothing stopping the insurance company from ignoring evidence or doing creative accounting — unless you hire a lawyer before the process begins. Your personal injury attorney can do an independent investigation that produces evidence the insurance company won’t be able to ignore. They will also independently calculate the value of your claim. 

Unreasonable Delays 

Another way that the insurance company takes advantage of controlling the process is by unreasonably delaying it. It may not be able to find a way to undervalue your claim or deny it, but that might not matter if it takes months or even years to pay. Many claimants will drop their claim or accept a lowball settlement offer if it takes too long. 

Additionally, insurance companies are well aware of the statute of limitations in New York. If an insurance company can delay the claim process for more than three years (for most claims), then the claimant has no legal recourse. This means it could decide to pay nothing on the claim and get away with it. 

An experienced lawyer can prevent these types of delays. 

Avoiding Mistakes 

An attorney doesn’t only prevent the insurance company from being unethical. They can also help you avoid making mistakes that will lower your benefits from an insurance claim. 

When you file an insurance claim, you are expected to provide the insurance company with certain types of information to prove that it is obligated to pay you. The information you are expected to provide includes: 

  • Your contact information 
  • The contact information of others involved in the claim 
  • A description of the events leading up to the injury 
  • Receipts for all bills and expenses 
  • Receipts for lost wages and contact information for your employer 

If you fail to provide any of the above information (and potentially other documentation), it can either slow down your claim or even result in you getting less money than you deserve. 

Unfortunately, the insurance company isn’t required to tell you when you forget to include information. Nor is it required to tell you what compensation you are eligible to receive. Thus, you might think you did everything you were supposed to do and only find out you didn’t when you received a check with missing zeroes. 

An experienced New York personal injury attorney is familiar with the insurance processes of all major insurance companies in New York. That means they can help you file and document your claim. Your lawyer will also keep track of all deadlines and make sure you don’t miss any. 

Negotiating a Settlement 

Finally, if you bring a lawyer into the process, you don’t need to be subject to the whims of the insurance company. Most attorneys will attempt to negotiate a settlement outside the bounds of the process. If successful, this will usually earn you more money and save time. 

Consult With an Experienced New York Personal Injury Lawyer 

The best time to consult with a personal injury lawyer after suffering an injury is as soon as possible. The attorneys at Silberstein, Awad & Miklos will act quickly to get you money after an injury. 

Contact our law firm to schedule a free consultation as soon as possible.