What Happens if Your Insurance Company Gets You to Settle Your Personal Injury Claim Without Proper Legal Representation for a Fraction of Its Value a Day or a Few Days After the Accident?
Recently, a colleague of mine was consulted by the victim of a car accident who signed a Release directly with the insurance carrier one day after the car accident for approximately 1.5% of the actual worth of the case. The client who was just a year above majority age suffered a closed head injury.
After 30 years of experience as a catastrophic injury lawyer, I remember one of my first cases where a wonderfully polite and kind elderly Italian woman was visited by a claims agent of an insurance company who brought her cake and then wanted to discuss settlement of her claim. My client called me after a two hour meeting with this gentleman and told me that he was the nicest man and that she in fact cooked him spaghetti and meatballs for lunch and that he generously offered her $200 if she signed a piece of paper which turned out to be a Release.
After handling thousands of cases, I recognized the insurance company’s greatest expense is what it pays out in claims and is greatly incentivized to settle claims early and cheaply in order to generate a higher and more profitable bottom line.
In fact, the policyholders and insurance companies compete for the same dollars. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recognized in that such a situation, many factors must be considered in determining whether the victim or plaintiff had an intelligent understanding of whether he or she may have been deceived as to the contents of the documents which were signed. Among these factors where the physical and mental condition of the plaintiff, the circumstances of which the Release was obtained, the amount paid in the Release, and how soon after the accident the Release was given.
Today many insurance companies routinely and systematically deny payments of claims unless they can be settled early for a fraction of the full value. Insurance companies and their adjusters are incentivized to lowball their customers and claimants in order to increase profits.
Now more than ever, if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident and have a valid claim, you should seek the services of experienced Pennsylvania car accident attorneys so that your rights are fully protected. Chances are that the insurance company does not have your best interests at heart.