While you enjoy the insurance company commercials on television, you should also keep in mind that insurance companies do more than just advertise. They invest significant amounts of money in studying you and your behavior, actions and tendencies. One area that the insurance industry is most curious about is why people hire personal injury lawyers after car accidents.
The standard belief within insurance companies is that personal injury lawyers increase the cost of claims. Insurance companies measure the average cost per paid claim. This category is referred to as claim severity. Other measurements that every insurance company relies on include frequency and loss costs. Insurance industry executives are convinced that car accident attorneys negatively and significantly impact all claims costs and that results in higher premiums.
So, it is natural that insurance companies would spend some of their research and development money on trying to figure out why so many people hire lawyers after a car crash. Veterans in the industry believed for years that delays in processing claims often led people to hire attorneys. But a recent study brings that belief into question.
The Insurance Research Council (IRC) was created in 1977. It describes itself as a non-profit, independent research organization. The IRC is supported by numerous insurance companies and associations including:
- State Farm Insurance Companies
- Allstate Insurance Company
- Sentry Insurance
- Liberty Mutual Group
- National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC)
- American Family Insurance
- Hanover Insurance Group
- Property Casualty Insurance Association of American (PCIAA)
- AMICA Mutual Insurance Company
- United Services Automobile Association
In 2016, the IRC issued a press release based on the findings a survey conducted on behalf of the IRC. The survey and study was called Motivation for Attorney Involvement in Auto Injury Claims. The results of the study were surprising for many as it did not appear that claim handling delays were causing people to retain lawyers for their automobile injury claims.
More than a third of those surveyed hired a lawyer simply because someone they knew suggested that they speak with an attorney. Over 20% wanted to obtain the highest settlement possible. In decreasing percentages, other reasons included:
- Dissatisfaction with settlement delays (16%)
- Lawyer advertising (15%)
- Dissatisfaction with settlement offer (10%)
- Uninsured motorists (9%)
- Denial of coverage (8%)
- Attorney contact (7%)
- Issues with rental or collision coverage was last with 5%
More than two thirds of the claimants hired an attorney within the first week following the accident. This fact alone goes a long way to defeat the notion that claim delays result in people hiring lawyers.
Applying common sense to the analysis, most people can agree on a few facts. First, insurance companies are in business to make money. These corporations are not charitable institutions. The same can be said for personal injury lawyers. Even though the individual who is injured in the car accident suffers, there is an entire industry that revolves around car accident injuries in our society. The insurance company, the insurance defense lawyer and the personal injury attorneys all play a part as do the medical profession, the auto repair industry and the courts. If you were injured in a car accident, you owe it to yourself and your family to make sure that you secure full, fair and complete compensation.
The decision of whether to hire a personal injury lawyer after a car accident is a very personal decision. If you do retain an attorney, then choose carefully since that person will be your voice and your advocate until you settle your case or receive a verdict from a jury. It is clear from the IRC study that more than 50% of people hired an attorney for their auto injury claims because it was suggested by friends and family and because they wanted to make sure that they received the full value of their damages.
The Miami personal injury lawyers at Wolfson & Leon have represented injury victims in South Florida since 1963. They are available for free consultations and will never charge you a fee unless you are compensated. You can speak with a Miami accident lawyer by calling (305) 285-1115.