After an injury, most people wonder who is on their side in a car accident. When you are in a car accident and dealing with various professionals you have never dealt with before, it is good instincts to ask this question.
When you are in a car accident, in addition to your personal injuries or bodily injuries which must be dealt with, there is also the matter of fixing your motor vehicle. If you are the innocent victim of a motor vehicle collision, then the insurance company for the other vehicle that was at fault must pay for your vehicle repairs as well as your personal injury claim.
You will often first deal with the “property damage” insurance adjuster on your vehicle and very often they will be very friendly and reasonable in dealing with your property damage claim which makes you think they are in fact acting on your side and in your interests. The reality could not be further from the truth. The reality is the insurance company for the party at fault acts against you. The role of the Insurance Adjuster is to minimize payment of any claim to you especially for your personal injuries in order to maximize the profits to the shareholders of the insurance company. If you are in a jurisdiction where the insurance companies are not private, the same principles still apply as the Insurance adjuster is trying to minimize payouts in order to minimize costs of the insurance company if it is a government insurance company.
Therefore, you need to be aware that even though the Insurance Adjuster will often try to be very friendly and make you think they are acting for you or on your side, they are not on your side, they are acting against you in trying to minimize the claim.
Once you understand this dynamic, then many of the frustrations involved in a property damage claim and a personal injury claim become readily explainable. Often when people phone us they are very confused and upset because they felt like they were negotiating in good faith with the insurance company and yet when the negotiations became intense it began clear that the insurance company was not acting for them, but they were still puzzled by this because all along they thought the insurance company was going to be fair with them, but in the end, they were not!
The only way you can be certain that a professional is acting solely in your interest is if you hire a professional to act solely for you. Therefore, in a personal injury claim, you must go out and hire a personal injury lawyer who is acting for you and only you and then you will be assured and certain that the personal injury lawyer will have your best interest as his or her priority.
In many jurisdictions when you hire a personal injury lawyer, the lawyer is hired on a contingency fee basis which means:
1) the fee is contingent upon them being successful and thus they are motivated to succeed or else they won’t get paid;
2) the contingency fee means they are not paid until there is a settlement;
3) Then when there is a settlement the contingency fee is a percentage of the settlement.
The percentage aspect works in your favour as well because if you think about it since the lawyer is being paid a percentage of the settlement amount, the larger settlement the lawyer can achieve for you means that lawyer on a percentage basis will then also have a larger fee. Thus, you can rest assured that the lawyer is acting in your best interest as your interest and the lawyer’s interest are aligned in order to achieve the best possible settlement for your claim.
In the end, follow your instincts – you know something is not right with the way the negotiation has been going between you and the insurance company. Listen to your instincts and do the smart thing and hire a personal injury lawyer who acts for you, and only you, and therefore will make sure you get the best possible settlement.