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Should I handle negotiations with the insurance company alone?

You've been injured in an accident and you're just now well enough to start handling the legal headache that is your insurance claim. In addition to seeking coverage for the damages caused to your vehicle, you're also looking to the at-fault driver's insurance provider to cover your medical expenses and lost wages. You're hoping this won't be too much of a hassle.

If you're like most people, the process of filing an insurance claim to recover damages is a daunting one, oftentimes filled with questions on both sides. In addition to the questions asked by the insurance company, you may have questions about your policy and what it covers, or whether you should talk to an attorney. In the end, you could simply find yourself asking:

Should I handle negotiations with the insurance company alone?

While you might think you are perfectly capable of handling your claim and subsequent negotiations with the insurance company, this is not advised in a majority of cases for three major reasons.

For starters, many people who think they are covered by the terms of a policy come to find out they aren't because of the complex wording of specific clauses. Only someone with experience sorting through the legalese, such as a lawyer, will be able to catch these clauses that could cost someone compensation for damages.

In addition to confusing policy language, insurers often ask a large number of probing questions to determine what caused the accident, what your involvement in it was and how bad your injuries were. If you offer up too much information to an adjuster or not enough, you could jeopardize your claim and cause your claim to be denied. A lawyer with experience in these types of matters can make sure you're giving the right information and not saying anything that could hurt your chances of getting maximum compensation.

Finally, while we'd all like to think that insurers are looking out for our best interests, some insurers have been known to act in bad faith, such as offering low-ball settlements or denying valid claims. As such, you may need to appeal a denied claim, which is not a simple process to navigate without help from a lawyer.


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