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Why you shouldn't settle an insurance claim without an attorney

You pay for your motor vehicle insurance every month. You do so because you believe that if you get into a serious accident or crash that your insurance will cover the costs. It's easy to forget, but insurance companies are businesses. They are not in operation to take care of their customers and policy holders. They are in business to make money. The more they have to pay out for each claim, the less profit they make. Your insurance company has a motive to deny you full compensation or benefits you've paid for.

Many times, insurance companies will delay payment for medical and other expenses after an accident. The reason is simple. They are hoping that the other driver will be found liable, allowing them to avoid paying out by holding the other driver's insurance responsible or paying the minimum amount they can. Many times, this takes the form of a lump-sum settlement. Accidents with serious injuries can cause expenses for years. Settlement offers are often meant to benefit your insurance company, not you.

Settlement offers are often very low at first

In order to minimize their financial risk, insurance companies often offer incredibly low initial settlements. Some victims of accidents, so worried about immediate financial pressure, accept these settlements, only to learn that the amount won't cover all the medical bills, lost wages and property damage created by the accident. California only requires drivers to carry $5,000 worth of property damage insurance and $15,000 for injury or death to one person, which increases to $30,000 if more than one person is hurt or killed.

Damages to your vehicle can cost well more than $5,000 to repair. A single surgery could eat up that entire $15,000 of medical coverage quickly. If a settlement isn't even the full amount of your insurance coverage, chances are good that it is too low to offset your losses. It can be nerve-wracking to negotiate with an insurance company and reject a settlement, which is why you want to work with an attorney who understands California personal injury and insurance laws.

Your attorney can help reach a better settlement

Because your lawyer will have experience with personal injury and insurance cases, your attorney will be able to help you understand if a settlement is too low. Instead of accepting your first offer, you should have any settlement offers from your insurance company or the other driver's insurance company reviewed by an attorney before agreeing. Not only can an attorney help you push for better terms, your lawyer may also be able to maximize the benefits you receive after a serious motor vehicle accident with injuries.

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