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Your Motor Vehicle Accident Insurance Claim

Some Crucial “Forewarnings” and “Precautions”

Post contributed by Dan Baldyga.

     The following insurance claim insights are about Fred Fuddle the man who flew through a Stop Sign to clobber you, I. M. Smart the typical adjuster assigned to your case, his employer The Rock Solid Insurance Company, Smarts immediate superior in the home office, plus the lawyer you may consider asking to take on your case. You’ve successfully obtained and read a copy of my third “How To” Insurance Claim book.AUTO ACCIDENT PERSONAL INJURY (How To Evaluate And Settle Your Loss) and THE BASE FORMULA advised that your claim has a settlement value of approximately $3,000. Once that’s been accomplished you should consider the following:
     THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS: First of all be aware that every state has a different Statute of Limitations. Make sure you check the law in the state where your accident occurred, so you’ll know how much time you have left to do battle with Rock Solid Insurance before it’s too late for you to confer with an attorney.
     YOU SHOULD TELL ADJUSTER SMART THAT YOUR CONSIDERING HIRING A LAWYER TO HANDLE YOUR CLAIM AND (WHEN YOU DO) HERE ARE SEVERAL THINGS YOU HAVE GOING FOR YOU: Smart knows that the cost to his company will skyrocket should a lawyer get involved. (The attorneys called in to defend Insurance Companies are paid big bucks)! Smart also knows it’s a sour mark on his record to have one of his claims end up in litigation. Plus, his insured, Fred Fuddle, won’t be doing a jig on the bar of his favorite tavern should his accident case end up in court.
     GOING OVER THE HEAD OF I. M. SMART: Later on, down the road, you can go over Smarts head to his immediate supervisor. When you phone this person have your claim number handy (long ago provided you when Rock Sold first contacted you via snail mail) plus all the other info regarding the accident. At that point you‘ll be the recipient of “The Big Stall”, but you must be patient. You’ve got to allow that individual plenty of time to review your file because you’re only one of thousands he’s currently handling, many of them much bigger than yours – – some of them driving him crazy! He‘s “busy-busy”, and usually whacked out, so hang in there! Be polite and understanding, Those are the tactic’s that will work the best for you. Never forget (it’s a fact of their work life): Smarts Supervisor wants to get rid of you just as much as you want to receive a fair payment.
     If you believe the adjuster assigned your case has been stroking you, keep that to yourself. Don’t knock him. Just ask his supervisor if there’s some way you and he can get your case settled? Besides, he knows his adjusters are often difficult to deal with. That’s par for their course.
     SMALL CLAIMS COURT: This is known as The ”User Friendly” Court. Most cases are filed and decided without an attorney getting involved. The amount of compensation a Small Claims Court can fork over is limited by state law, so check that out before you do your thing. If you’re looking for $3,000 and their limit is $5,000 it’s worth a shot. If you’re looking for $5,000 and their limit is $3,000, forget it.
     MEETING WITH THE INDIVIDUAL YOU MIGHT HIRE TO BE YOUR LAWYER: Bring along all the originals of your documents plus (as detailed in my book) the photographs you’ve taken of your Motor Vehicle’s Property Damage and also those that captured the swelling and the red, black, and blue bruises and/or marks on your body. When you hand these to the attorney he’ll flash the same smile he wore on his wedding night.
     At this point it’s time to slip that lawyer a dandy! Tell you want him to waive the 33 1/3 percent contingency fee he‘s normally paid. You say, “Our deal will have to be that you keep a percentage of ever dollar you get, above and beyond , my last offer”.
     When he hears that his smile will take flight! He’ll talk fast as he attempts to convince you into paying his, “Usual and legally acceptable, as determined by our local Bar Association, Contingency Fee” – – (when Rock Solid Insurance finally comes up with a settlement) in his effort to be paid, “Right off the top”. He’ll huff and puff, “Hey, I know I can get more money than they’ve offered you”.
     Your response should be, “Okay, but only if you can guarantee me that tomorrow I’ll end up with more money in my pocket than I’d end up with today, handling it on my own”. Give that a moment to sink in, then add, “And, that’s a fact I’d like in writing”. The attorney will shiver and shake like a turkey who just spotted “The Main Man” heading his way with an axe.
     Then, while he’s figuring out how to answer, you’re in a position to ask, “That means when you settle my case you’ll take 33 1/3 percent of the payment. That is, one third of my property damage, one-third of my medical bills, one-third of my lost wages. one-third of all my other out-of-pocket expenses plus whatever you get for my ’Pain and Discomfort’. Is that the deal“?
     Suddenly feeling he’s on the way to nailing you down the lawyer will smile and respond, “Of course. That’s the time honored way of how the legal business of recovery for a client is traditionally conducted”.
     Let that mumbo-jumbo hang out there to flop in the breeze for awhile, then respond, “Tell you what, forget the 33 1/3 percent. Instead, I’m going to pay you 50 percent! That is, 50 percent of everything you get, above and beyond, what the adjuster has already offered me”.
     If the lawyer agrees (it will be a miracle if he does) get that in writing and let him have a go at it. If he doesn’t, and attempts to hide behind his usual “mumbo-jumbo-legal-beagle” scrabbly-gobbly-gook-talk, kiss him, “Goodbye”.
     Okay, after all this has come to pass, it’s back to you and I. M. Smart, who’s already aware of the fact you’ve been talking to a lawyer, and he’s always concerned about that. Tell Smart you’re still not sure if you need a lawyer or not but you’ve not taken one on as yet. At that point you’ve got one more trick up your sleeve. Let’s say Smart once gave you what he identified as his “final offer” of $2,400. Add 20 percent to that, then try this on for size, “Look, your last offer to me was $2,400.If you give me $2,800, I’ll take it and we’ll call it a day”.
     If the figure you throw at him isn’t unreasonable (plus he knows you’ve been talking to an attorney and that will surely cause him grief he‘d rather not have to deal with) he’ll agree. Or, at the very least (still remaining stubborn) an offer of $2,650. (Has Dan ever done that? I sure have. So many times I lost count).
     Don’t ever fall for the typical lawyer’s pitch about how he can get you more money. If you take the time to figure it out you’ll discover (after he takes his cut – – for doing little or nothing more than you’ve already accomplished) you’re going to be left with a lot less dollars than if you knew how much it was worth and had settled it yourself!
     As stated in the first paragraph of this article THE BASE FORMULA indicated the Personal Injury portion of your case has a top dollar value of $3,000. Should the attorney settle your Personal Injury case at $3,000 (plus your Property Damage) you’re going to have to pay him 1/3 of that, or $1,000 (and also 1/3 of your Property Damage) rather than the $2,400 you’ve already been offered just for your Personal Injury. If you allow that to happen you’ll have lost $400.00 just on the Personal Injury portion of your settlement (because the alleged “last offer” made to you by Smart was $2,400) by allowing that lawyer to represent you in addition to a third of your Property Damage loss!
     If you pitch it correctly, Smart will settle at your last Personal Injury demand of $2,650 (as described above) because, in his heart, he knows your case is worth more than that. If this comes to pass (in the vast majority of instances – – if you continue to hammer away at Smart – – it will!) you’ll end up with $650.00 more for your Personal Injury than if the attorney had handled it for you (after he took his 1/3 Contingency Fee of $1,000.00 from the $3,000.00 – – the figure which my BASE FORMULA has advised is the approximate value of your Personal Injury case – – leaving you with $2,000) even if the attorney settled it for its top dollar value of $3,000. Plus you’ll also end up with 100% of the value of your Property Damage.
     It has always amazed me (and it still does) how (on a case of clear liability) a lawyer can possibly justify reaching in a scooping out 1/3 of their clients Property Damages! It’s not only unfair – – IT’S LEGAL LARCENY!

DISCLAIMER: The only purpose of this claim tip is to help people understand the motor vehicle accident claim process. Neither Dan Baldyga nor Automotive Trends make any guarantee of any kind whatsoever; NOR to substitute for a lawyer, an insurance adjuster, or claims consultant, or the like. Where such professional help is desired it is the INDIVIDUAL’S RESPONSIBILITY to obtain said services.

Dan Baldyga’s latest book AUTO ACCIDENT PERSONAL INJURY INSURANCE CLAIM (How To Evaluate And Settle Your Loss) can be found on the internet at his web site http://www.autoaccidentclaims.com. This book reveals “How To” successfully handle your motor vehicle accident claim, so you won’t be taken advantage of. It also goes into detail regarding the revolutionary BASE (The Baldyga Auto Accident Settlement Evaluation Formula). BASE will explain how to determine the value of the “Pain and Suffering” you endured, because of your personal injury.

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