Oftentimes, an insurance adjuster might tell an injured party that they don’t need a lawyer in the aftermath of a personal injury and accident for several reasons. One reason used often is that a person doesn’t need a lawyer because the adjuster “will arrive at a reasonable figure that will compensate you without delay.” Meanwhile, when a serious personal injury, bodily injury or death occurs, large corporations and insurance companies are already working a system they have in place that helps them develop the best possible case for denying and/or minimizing a potential insurance claim. For example, there are some existing commercial trucking manuals that instruct a commercial truck driver to take two steps in the aftermath of a commercial truck collision: 1) not admit to anything and 2) immediately report collision to Risk Management.
Why would a commercial trucking manual list these statements and instructions for commercial truck drivers to follow after a commercial truck wreck? For one, if a commercial truck driver knows he or she caused and/or contributed to a commercial truck collision occurring, would the interests of justice be best served by acknowledging responsibility? After all, parents teach children at a young age to own up to mistakes, but parents are not motivated by profit. Corporations instruct drivers not to admit fault, because silence increases the chance of claims to being denied and/or minimized.
Immediately reporting the collision to Risk Management seems innocent enough, except for that fact that many times, Risk Management is to be called before 911, as is shown by a review of telephone records in particular cases. What exactly is Risk Management? Risk Management is an integral part of the insurance process. By way of example, every tractor-trailer that operates on our public roadways must be insured. All insurance companies have attorneys on the payroll that are well educated, specially trained and available on short notice to respond to the news of an automobile collision. Within hours of a tractor-trailer collision, a lawyer and investigator representing the financial interests of the insurance company are on the scene. As we examine in our book David vs. Goliath, Goliath’s lawyers and investigators are not always at the scene with the best of intentions.
If Goliath has an attorney on the automobile wreck scene within hours, why is it “unnecessary” for you to have a personal injury attorney? It is only unnecessary if you are willing to give in to the tactics of Goliath. You see, Goliath is building a case against you or your loved ones, but Goliath does not want you to hire a David to investigate a case against him. And thus the statement—“you don’t need an attorney.”
Additionally, the insurance adjuster would prefer to deal with you any day over a personal injury attorney that is representing you. Being an insurance adjuster is a profession. Like the attorney or investigator that Goliath sends to the scene subsequent to a commercial truck wreck, the insurance adjuster is an integral part of Goliath’s network. The insurance adjuster is not patted on the back for paying fair amounts on a claim. Insurance adjusters advance through the ranks by saving Goliath money. The adjusters are also sophisticated with their craft. They are adjusters 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
You are not an adjuster. You may be a teacher, mechanic, police officer or retired official, and although you are likely very good at what you do, you do not negotiate insurance claims for a living. Insurance adjusters want to deal with you because they know the tricks of the trade and recognize that they have a natural advantage against you.
An experienced personal injury attorney, when necessary to maximize your recovery, will pay to get the counsel of experts to evaluate how much care you might need, to get concrete estimates of total damages, and to make sure that you get fair treatment. Your personal injury and accident lawyer may work with economic advisors, accident scene investigators, psychologists, medical professionals, and even other lawyers to build a successful case for you.
Aaron Gartlan is a graduate of Troy University and the Thomas Goode Jones School of Law who focuses his practice exclusively on representing those injured by the wrongdoing of others. He is member of the National Trial Lawyers Association’s Top 100 Trial Lawyers, Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. In addition to his legal practice, Aaron teaches Business Law as an adjunct instructor at Troy University’s Sorrell College of Business and serves as a field artillery sergeant in the Alabama National Guard.