In Austin, Texas, as well as elsewhere in the country, liability insurance companies pay most personal injury claims. The most common personal injury claim is a car accident. Nevertheless, other sorts of personal injury claims, such as slip and fall accidents and dog bites, are also paid by insurance companies most of the time. Even in a best-case scenario, however, it could take time for you to receive a settlement check.
“The Insurance Company Won’t Call Me Back”
The insurance company not responding to a claim is a common problem. Most insurance claims settle at the negotiating table rather than in court. Although you might seek to kick off the negotiation process by telephoning the insurance adjuster, don’t be surprised if you don’t hear back from them.
Nevertheless, you don’t need to sit and wait helplessly for the phone to ring. If the insurance company is stonewalling you, there are ways to fight back.
What To Do When the Insurance Company Doesn’t Respond
Typically, the best strategy in dealing with an insurance adjuster is to gradually escalate the pressure you bring to bear until you get a good response. Following is a description of a so-called “escalation ladder” that you might employ for best results. A seasoned Austin personal injury lawyer should be an expert at implementing this strategy.
The “Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease” Strategy
In the “squeaky wheel gets the grease” strategy, you must frequently contact the insurance company about your claim, even if they don’t call you back. If they are stonewalling you, your goal should be to make it easier for them to deal with you than to ignore you. Ask for their supervisor if necessary. If this doesn’t work, you might want to escalate to the second step up the ladder.
Have Your Lawyer Draft and Send a Demand Letter
Depending on the size of your claim, You might hire a lawyer and have your lawyer draft and send a formal demand letter to the insurance company. The demand letter states facts that justify your claim. and it might ask for a specific dollar amount. The letter should demand full compensation for your injuries even if it doesn’t. Hopefully, this letter will trigger a settlement offer.
File a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If the insurance adjuster still doesn’t respond, it’s time for you to play hardball. What that usually means is that you file a personal injury lawsuit. A lawsuit doesn’t mean that you’ve resigned yourself to resolving your dispute through a full-blown trial. You can withdraw the lawsuit at any time before or even in the middle of a trial. there are usually three purposes to filing a lawsuit:
- Beating the statute of limitations deadline;
- Showing the opposing party that you are serious about your claim; and
- Gaining access to the pretrial discovery process that allows you to demand evidence from the other side.
You’re going to need a lawyer to help you file the documents necessary to commence a personal injury lawsuit.
File an Insurance Bad Faith Claim
“Insurance bad faith” is another claim that is separate and distinct from your original personal injury claim. You can demand additional money from the insurance company, and it will be possible for you to win two claims: your original personal injury claim, and your insurance bad faith claim. You should refrain from filing such a claim unless the insurance company’s behavior towards you is outrageous.
Do You Need an Austin Personal Injury Lawyer?
Insurance companies love to deal with unrepresented claimants. Can you guess why? Unrepresented claimants typically receive only a fraction of the settlement amounts won by claimants who hire personal injury lawyers. They rarely win at trial.
In all likelihood, hiring a personal injury lawyer will bring you enough extra income to more than offset whatever the lawyer is charging for their legal fees. Schedule a free initial case consultation with a personal injury lawyer to learn more about your legal rights and options.