Between 2007 and 2012, average claimed economic losses for motor vehicle collision victims making a personal injury protection (PIP) claim increased eight percent annualized. The Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association also reports that average claimed losses among motor vehicle collision victims making a bodily injury claim has increased four percent from 2007 to 2012.
At the same time as claimed losses have increased, there has also been a rise in the number of motor vehicle accident claimants who are represented by a personal injury lawyer. A report from the Insurance Research Council shows just how many more people are hiring an attorney, although the report tries to paint this phenomenon as a negative.
More Claimants are Represented After a Motor Vehicle Accident
In 1977, 17 percent of motor vehicle collision victims were represented by a lawyer when they made a personal injury protection (PIP) claim after being hurt in a collision. There has been a dramatic shift in the number represented. By 2007, 31 percent of PIP claimants had an attorney and 36 percent were represented by 2012.
The number of people with a lawyer to help them make a bodily injury claim has always been higher than the number of people getting help with a PIP case. Even in 1977, 47 percent of bodily injury claimants had an attorney. In 2007, 49 percent of motor vehicle collision victims with a bodily injury case hired a lawyer and the number getting legal help had reached 50 percent by 2012.
The Insurance Research Council suggests that more people getting a lawyer is bad for them because being represented by an attorney makes claims take longer to resolve. This is ironic, when the insurance industry is dedicated to delaying as much as possible to prevent people from getting the money they deserve. The American Association for Justice describes the 10 worst insurance companies and the “three D’s,” the companies practiced: denying claims, delaying payouts and defending the denials.
Insurance companies may delay to try to make you desperate enough to give up or to accept a lower amount of money. Insurers may also deny your claim even though it should be covered, in the hopes you won’t know how to follow through and fight for coverage.
The dishonest tactics of insurance companies may help to explain why private insurance ends up covering only around 50 percent of motor vehicle crash costs, leaving victims with 26 percent of costs; doctors, charities and healthcare providers with 14 percent of costs; and state or federal revenues with nine percent of the costs.
The insurance companies stalling tactics may not be the only reason for delays. When you don’t have a lawyer, the insurer may pressure you to quickly accept a low settlement, signing a liability release in exchange for a small sum of money. The problem is, while your case may settle fast, you can’t change your mind later if it turns out your settlement was way too low. If you have a lawyer, your attorney can advise you on whether to sign the settlement and can take time to negotiate a better deal on your behalf. While it may take you a little longer to resolve your claim, it is often better to fight a little longer for full compensation than to walk away with far less than you deserve.
Call the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates, P.C. at 1-800-898-HAYS or visit http://www.garymartinhays.com to schedule a free consultation with an Atlanta, GA personal injury lawyer.