THE MCMILLIAN LAW FIRM - COMPASSIONATE AND AGGRESSIVE ADVOCACY FOR VICTIMS OF NEGLIGENCE IN CHARLESTON, SC AND SUMMERVILLE, SC
One of the biggest misconceptions held by the public when its comes to insurance, whether it be an automobile policy, a homeowners policy, or a general liability policy for a business, is that the insurance company will be forthright in dealing with claims. The expectation by the public is reinforced by the insurance industry who is always telling you that "like a good neighbor they will be there" or "they are on your side" or "that they cover it all because they have seen it all." I mean, isn't that the whole reason we require auto insurance, and why your mortgage company requires liability coverage in a homeowners policy, so that when something goes wrong everyone is on the same page? That's way you pay thousands of dollars in premiums, for that the day when "what if" becomes a reality.
Well, I have said this before and I will say it again because this always bears repeating . . . Insurance Companies are in business for one reason . . . TO MAKE MONEY!! This has always been the top priority of the insurance industry and always will be . . . You are not their priority, making money is the top priority!
In the everyday operation of my law firm, I am constantly approached by new potential clients who have been victims of a car accident, or maybe have been injured on the premises of someone else. We sit down and talk and it becomes clear that it wasn't the client's fault, and more to the point, it was most likely due to the negligence of another party. The difficulty begins for my client when they can't understand why the insurance company will not provide the compensation needed to cover their injuries, their lost wages, and repair their property. They bring me police reports, witness statements, medical bills, doctor's notes, medical records - yet the story ends the same . . .
Why is the insurance company doing this to me knowing that I have a legitimate claim?
Fortunately, if the client has made it to the office and we are having a sit down to discuss their accident, they have taken the first step to insure they will not be ripped off by the insurance company . . . The client has consulted and retained The McMillian Law Firm to process the injury claim. It is statistically proven that the involvement of an attorney in any personal injury matter increases the eventual final settlement from the insurance company. As your personal injury attorney, I am aware of all the relevant factors, such as lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, permanent disability, loss of quality of life that must be part of any full and just compensation from the insurance company.
So, backing up just for a moment here . . . when will you know that it is time to take your case to a car accident and personal injury attorney. How does the client know when they are being played for a fool by the insurance company? Well there are several obvious signs that anyone can detect, and they usually will begin immediately after the accident. Remember, the context of the actions by the insurance company is that they are trying to throw you a bone and dispose of you quickly and on the cheap before you decide to seek legal counsel:
5 SIGNS THAT THE INSURANCE COMPANY IS RIPPING YOU OFF!
- The "low-ball" property damage offer: If your car is totaled, the insurance company will offer to give you cash equal to the value of the scrap value of the destroyed car, and not the full value of the car in its actual condition at the time of the accident. Insurance companies will also try to reduce property settlement amounts for mileage, or dents, or dings, or other "non-conforming" conditions on the car. More times than not, the original property settlement offer from the insurance company may not even be enough to replace the totaled car or even make a down payment on a replacement vehicle.
- The "low-ball" injury offer: Once you have received your medical treatments, the insurance company will most likely offer to any pay a fraction of your total medical bills. They will use one of two "justifications" to do this. First, you may hear them say that your doctor and service providers have charged too much for the services and that insurance will only cover the "customary and reasonable rate." This is a total fantasy on the part of the insurance company. Second, the insurance company may tell you that some of the medical treatments you received were not "medically necessary" and that those expenses can not be covered. If you hear this from an insurance adjuster, you need to call an attorney immediately!
- Request that you give a recorded statement: I want to be crystal clear here for you . . . You are not required to give a recorded statement to the insurance company! The only reason that the insurance company wants to ask you questions and get a recorded statement from you is that they want to put some, if not all, of the fault for the accident on you! One slip of the tongue, or one misstatement or one wrong word, and you will have absolutely destroyed your claim and may not get one red cent for your injuries. The insurance adjuster handling your claim is going to ask you leading questions, confuse you about what you know to have happened, and seek to get an admission from you that you contributed to the accident. The adjuster may try to get you to sign a statement, written by the insurance company, that describes events in a manner in which they did not occur. Do not give any written or recorded statements to any insurance company! If you are asked to do this by your insurance company, consult with an attorney immediately.
- Request that you sign a medical records authorization form: Here we go again . . . Never give a medical records authorization to the insurance company! This one act is the one item that kills most viable personal injury claims. If the client has done this prior to meeting with me, more times than not I will decline the case . . . It is that fatal! A medical records release gives the insurance company complete access to every medical record you have! I repeat, a records release given to the insurance company is not limited to the records pertaining to treatment for your injuries as a result of the accident. It allows the insurance company to pull a full medical history and get any record they want from your medical history. The insurance company is searching for pre-existing conditions and other injuries not related to the accident. If they find such records, they will use your medical history to discount or even deny your claim
- They offer a quick "final release" payment: After a car accident, both medical and household bills will continue to come in but income may still be reduced or completely cut off as a result of the accident. Clients are always put against the wall and it will be tempting to accept any immediate offer that comes from the insurance company. Insurance companies prey upon your desperation as a way of paying off legitimate claims for pennies on the dollar. I have seen insurance companies offer quick cash settlements within 3 days of an accident, even while the client was still receiving medical treatments. Any quick settlement offer for a lump sum by the insurance company is actually an admission of two things: one, that they know the accident was the fault of their insured and not you, and two, they want a quick payout because they know the legitimate claim is worth a whole lot more! If the insurance company contacts you and offers an immediately payout within a few days or weeks of your accident, at the very least consult an attorney before accepting the check. Cashing the check will be act as a release of all your claims against the insurance company. Furthermore, the reason the insurance company is pushing this quick settlement on you to begin with is to keep you from consulting an attorney and to avoid the payout on the full and legitimate value of the claim.
The best advice in any situation following a car accident or after suffering an injury is to consult with an attorney before beginning a conversation with the insurance company. First of all, all consultations and case evaluations at The McMillian Law Firm are FREE!! Second of all, it is worth the one hour it takes to have a consult with a personal injury lawyer to at least get an expert opinion on your claim and make sure that you are fully informed about the process and how to maximize the value of your claim.
THE MCMILLIAN LAW FIRM - DEDICATED TO SERVING PERSONAL INJURY VICTIMS IN CHARLESTON, SC AND SUMMERVILLE, SC
As a Car Accident and Personal Injury lawyer in my solo practice, I will take all necessary steps to protect your rights and earn just compensation for you as a result of your auto accident or injury. Through my efforts, I can bring about much needed financial relief to a victim who may be suffering from serious injuries and permanent disability. Being a small firm allows you to have direct access to your lawyer during this entire process, with open lines of communication as we work together towards a viable solution to your specific case.
Being an experienced personal injury attorney, I have experience dealing with insurance companies. I also know where the courthouse is and will not be afraid to call the insurance company to the mat in front of a judge and jury if necessary.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident or due to the negligent or reckless acts of another in Charleston, Summerville, Mount Pleasant, James Island, West Ashley, Goose Creek, Moncks Corner, North Charleston, or any of the other fine communities of the Low Country, and need to meet with an experienced personal injury lawyer, please contact me to set up your free case evaluation today. Let me help prevent you from being taken advantage of by the insurance company. I am serious and I am here for you! Contact The McMillian Law Firm today @ 843-900-1306