Oct 12, 2021 | Ask the Attorneys, Personal Injury
Insurance companies employ insurance adjusters, who are highly skilled negotiators. Their entire reason for employment is to settle claims quickly, for as little money and with a little fuss as possible. If it becomes clear that you are willing to fight for a fair and reasonable settlement – the compensation you deserve – they have a whole bag of tricks they will use to confuse, obfuscate and deny your claim.
The goal for insurance companies is to make premiums and profits while limiting liabilities and payouts.
Therefore, insurance adjusters want to pay as little as possible on injury claims and settle them as quick as possible. Those suffering personal injury due to someone else’s negligence should be aware of these insurance settlement tactics.
Do Not Take the Low-Ball Offer!
The most common Insurance company settlement tactics are to attempt settling claims within 48-72 hours for a fraction of the true value of the claim. The goal of insurance companies is to settle claims before injured parties seek appropriate medical care, receive physical therapy or consultation with medical specialists and develop residual injuries over time. They want the victim to be blinded by their speed and ‘efficiency’, and will often send a check out overnight. Their hope (which works far too often…) is that you’ll weigh the value of the check in your hand against future need or deficiency that hasn’t made itself known yet.
Insurance Companies Want Quick and Cheap Settlements!
It is no surprise that insurance companies want to negotiate fast and cheap settlements. The faster the insurance company can settle the case, the less it will pay for medical bills, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, pain and suffering, permanent impairment and disfigurement, and consortium. In fact, it has become a common insurance company settlement tactic to discourage injured parties from seeking a lawyer. If you are injured, do not take the bait!
Pay Attention to Details!
Many insurance companies will try and trick injured parties into settling the case even when the injured party did not agree to settle the claim!
A recent call to Cowan & Hilgeman from a young lady injured in a car accident revealed that an insurance company paid her $300 for out-of-pocket expenses she incurred shortly after the accident and later argued that payment represented full and final settlement of her claims. Unfortunately, the young lady was mistaken as to the details of the payment and a recorded statement revealed the payment represented full and final settlement – despite not covering her medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.
Do not fall for this extremely common insurance company settlement tactic! Insurance adjusters are far more capable and experienced at this than you are, which is why…
You Need A Lawyer!
A skilled personal injury lawyer will make sure that the insurance company treats you fairly and pays you the compensation you deserve. It is important that your personal injury lawyer explain how to present a strong and supported claim for your compensation. For any additional questions regarding what makes a good personal injury case, click here.
The personal injury lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman have recovered millions in compensation for our clients. Our lawyers create plans of attack for each case specific to the client’s needs and expectations. The lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman handle claims involving personal injury, medical malpractice, nursing home negligence, product liability and wrongful death. We routinely recover compensation on cases that other law firms reject.
Cowan & Hilgeman offers free personal injury case evaluations and only get paid an attorney fee if we win your personal injury case.
Call 937-222-2030 to get your free case evaluation.
Jul 26, 2021 | Ask the Attorneys, Car Accident, Personal Injury
Even if you get into a minor fender bender, you should be aware of these tricks used by insurance companies to get away with paying you as little as possible for your injuries.
Introducing: The Insurance Claim Adjuster
An Insurance Claim Adjuster‘s job is to investigate claims, determine who is at fault, and pay the smallest amount of money possible. They will always start with a low-ball offer, often far below the full amount that you are likely eligible for. At this point, most people will just accept that offer and move on with their lives. After all, who wants to drag out a scary, possibly even traumatic time in their lives?
One of the most common tricks used by insurance companies: Settle quickly, before an injury can be diagnosed.
You may later learn that you need to undergo an operation or months of physical therapy for a serious injury
When you get into a car accident, adrenaline and stress hormones dull pain. This physiological response served an important purpose during our evolution – Being able to delay pain allowed us the time and ability to escape danger. Great for when you’re running away from a bear or tiger; Not so great when trying to accurately assess injury after an accident. This is why it is incredibly important to visit a doctor as soon as possible after a car accident. Some injuries like whiplash and ligament damage often take several days to weeks to make themselves known.
Insurance claim adjusters know this, and they literally make money off the fact that you do not know this.
Other common tricks used by insurance companies include:
Getting you to admit fault
When you get into an accident, you will receive a phone call from the at-fault party’s insurance company. They will ask to record your statement of events, asking you what happened, when, where, etc. on a recorded line. Anything you say during this phone call can, and will, be used to reduce, deny or even reverse your claim.
You might end up paying the at-fault driver, for an accident that wasn’t your fault!
They want you to slip up and say the wrong thing. They know which statements to use against you. Even if you argue in your own favor, they will use the slightest admittance of fault against you. Saying something as simple as “i’m sorry this happened” or “I just didn’t see the other driver until it was too late” can be used against you.
Accident victims are often in a vulnerable state, having just been through a traumatic experience, medical treatment, and the added stress of paying future bills on their minds. Don’t put it past insurance companies to take advantage of that.
It is best to tell the insurance representative that you have legal representation and any questions will be answered by your attorney.
Getting you to release your medical records
In addition to asking for a recorded statement, the insurance company will likely ask you to sign a release so they can have access to your medical records. Why would they want access to your medical records? Most likely, they plan to downplay the extent of your injuries. They will argue that your injuries are exaggerated or not related to your crash. They may also ask why you waited so long to see a doctor if your medical treatment was delayed.
Adjusters use past medical records against you by claiming that the medical treatment you had was due to a pre-existing condition or old injury, and not a result of the accident. That’s why providing documents without the advice of a lawyer first is a big no-no.
If they ask you to sign a release, simply decline. Let our experienced attorneys get a copy of your medical records so we can link your injury to the crash.
Giving you an arbitrary deadline
This is one of the most common tricks used by insurance claim adjusters. They will issue a low-ball settlement offer, then tell you that you have until a certain date to accept this offer before it is rescinded. The truth is that this deadline is completely arbitrary. They want you to feel scared and uncertain, and that if you don’t accept this offer, you may get nothing at all. This is especially true if you are receiving medical treatment – They want you to accept their offer before the full extent of your injuries, treatment and recovery is known.
You are not obligated to accept this offer. Tell them that you will be consulting with legal council before accepting any offer they make.
Acting like they are your friend who is only here to help you
One of the oldest tricks used by insurance adjusters: They’re your buddy, your concerned friend, who just wants to help you get this all figured out quickly so you can get back to your normal life.
Put quite simply, this is a lie. They may be perfectly nice people in real life, but while doing their job, they are not there to help you. Their loyalty first and foremost is to their company and to the negligent party, so this is just a manipulation tactic to make you feel like you’re in good hands. Any assertion of working for your benefit is not only false but also contradictory to their job description. If they try to convince you not to seek legal representation because they claim they’ll take care of you, do not fall for it.
Steps you can take to avoid these tricks used by insurance companies:
Don’t give a recorded statement
You are not obligated to give an on-record statement, and anything you do say may be used against you.
Don’t accept the first settlement offer
Even if it seems like a lot of money, it is not nearly as much as you may be entitled to. The fact that they are offering you money at all means that they know they are at-fault. Their only job is to get away with paying you as little as they can, and their first offer will ALWAYS be for the lowest amount they think you will accept.
Don’t provide access to your medical records
Your attorney will provide them with ONLY the medical records relevant to your case. If you sign a release for your medical records, insurance companies can obtain records from years and years ago, which they will use to try and diminish your claim.
Provide only the bare minimum details necessary
Don’t offer up any unnecessary or extra details that could be used against you. Don’t let them convince you that the medical treatment you received was unnecessary or downplay your injuries. All details about the extent of your injuries or your medical treatment should be provided by your attorney.
Hire an experienced attorney.
This one may be a bit obvious, but it’s truly the most effective antidote to use against insurance claim adjuster secret tactics. As soon as adjusters are informed that you have a lawyer, they will stop using these tactics on you because they know we won’t fall for it.
For help and advice concerning your car, truck or motorcycle accident, call the experienced accident attorneys at Cowan & Hilgeman. Your case review is completely FREE, with no obligation. If we don’t win, you don’t pay a dime. Call (937) 222-2030 today.
Jul 2, 2021 | Car Accident, Personal Injury
Food delivery apps like Doordash, Uber Eats and Grubhub are everywhere nowadays. They offer the convenience of ordering from many local restaurants without having to leave your home. The use of food delivery apps is projected to continue rising in the future. With tens of thousands of deliveries happening every day, it is only natural that people get into accidents with a Doordash, Uber Eats or Grubhub driver.
What should you do if you get into an accident with a Doordash driver?
(There are dozens of food delivery apps, but for convenience and clarity’s sake, we will use Doordash as our primary example.)
1 – First and foremost, stop for a moment and give yourself a once over.
Are you feeling disoriented, dizzy, or sick? If you need medical attention, call 911 immediately. Before you can do anything else, it is paramount that you take care of yourself. Don’t push aside even the smallest discomfort, as it is common to have injured your neck, back, or spine without noticing it at first. This may seem odd, but when your body is put into flight-or-fight response, it may be difficult to ascertain the true nature of your injuries.
If you do not get medical attention at the immediate time of the car accident, it is still important that you visit a doctor in the next 24 hours. Request hard copies of the doctor’s report for your claim, and tell your physician that you were involved in a car accident with a Doordash driver.
2 – Next, call the police.
Do not let the delivery driver leave until they arrive. Have them come to the scene to file a traffic accident report. State the facts from your point of view, and do your best to remain calm and collected while doing so. You can ask the arriving officer to tell you who they cite to be at fault on the record. Also make a note of when you can expect it to be filed. Usually, this will happen in a few business days.
Like any other traffic incident, you should be sure to collect information from the Doordash driver. Record their name/driver ID, the make and model of the vehicle, their insurance information (including any coverage provided by Doordash) the license number, and if possible, how many deliveries they have made that day. Before vehicles are moved or you leave the scene, try to make a clear physical record of the incident. Some important details to document are:
- Date/Time it occurred
- Your location
- Was it raining, foggy, sunny? Weather conditions could be a factor to negligence.
- Pictures of all vehicle damage
- Other details that may explain why the accident happened (the driver ran a red light, failed to use a turn signal, didn’t break, etc.)
Put all of the information together to make a clear record of what happened. The more thorough you are, the better off you will be. Keep an eye out for any potential witnesses. If someone saw the accident with a Doordash driver, you may ask them if they would be willing to make a statement. Get their phone number and email.
3 – Once you feel like you’ve collected all the evidence you can, the next step is to contact your insurance company
Doordash drivers are required to carry their own car insurance that meets state minimum standards. Doordash also carries insurance for each driver that covers excess liability above the individual driver’s policy limits. This means that if you get into an accident with a Doordash driver and the Dasher is found to be at fault, their personal insurance will pay for your damages. If your damages exceed their policy limits, then Doordash’s insurance will cover the rest.
Personal insurance policies don’t cover accidents that happen while at work, however. If the Dasher fails to notify their insurance carrier that they are undertaking commercial services in their vehicle BEFORE the accident, their insurance may refuse to pay.
4 – Fill out a Doordash Accident Report form
You can fill out a Doordash accident report form here: https://doordash.formstack.com/forms/doordashautoclaims
5 – No matter whose insurance is paying for your accident, you need an experienced attorney on your side
Insurance companies are notorious for doing everything they can to avoid paying out compensation. Read more about the insurance company delay, deny and obstruct tactics here. They will try very hard to blame you for your accident with a Doordash driver – doubly so if your accident is severe enough to exhaust the driver’s personal insurance policy, running into Doordash’s legions of insurance attorneys. An attorney can explain and safeguard your rights while helping you pursue all available legal remedies. A lawyer can also anticipate insurers’ tactics, neutralize their arguments, and help you seek full, fair compensation.
Personal injury attorneys have dedicated their careers to protecting people like you. Having a trustworthy firm represent you after a truck accident could be one of the best decisions you make during these trying times, and gives you the best odds to receive the compensation you need. Why give yourself more strife? Call us for a free consultation today – (937) 222-2030
Jun 24, 2021 | Car Accident, Personal Injury
Getting into a car accident while pregnant is not something an expectant mother wants to imagine. Car accidents can cause catastrophic injuries to victims. Being involved in a car accident can cause a myriad pregnancy-related injuries that can place both the mother’s and baby’s lives at enormous risk.
It is vitally important to seek immediate medical care – even if you feel fine
A pregnant person may not be aware of potential injuries to themselves or their baby. Some traumatic medical conditions, such as placental abruption, are not painful or immediately obvious. They can feel quite like normal Braxton-Hicks contractions, which are easily ignored.
It is best to see a doctor as soon as possible after the crash. The doctor may want to perform an ultrasound to ensure the mother and baby are not seriously injured. The mother and baby have a better chance of making a full recovery if injuries are diagnosed as soon as possible after a car accident.
What type of injuries to an expectant mother and unborn baby can occur when in a car accident?
An expectant mother may sustain multiple injuries in a car wreck. A pregnant woman might suffer from broken bones, brain injuries, back injuries, and whiplash. However, an expectant mother could also sustain one or more pregnancy-related injuries that could cause life-threatening conditions for her and the baby.
Common pregnancy-related injuries caused by a car accident include, but are not limited to:
Damage To the Placenta
The placenta is vital for the baby. It provides oxygen and nutrients. If the placenta becomes detached (placental abruption) or is damaged during the collision, the baby may not receive an adequate supply of oxygen.
Oxygen deprivation could result in numerous conditions, including cerebral palsy, brain damage, and tissue damage. In some cases, placental abruption could result in stillbirth.
Injuries To the Baby
Even though the baby is protected within the uterus, the baby could sustain direct injuries during the crash. The sudden jolts caused by the collision could result in the baby’s brain being slammed against the skull. The movement could cause brain damage.
Enough pressure on the mother’s abdomen could cause additional injuries, including broken bones. Depending on the severity of the injuries, the result could be a miscarriage.
The mother’s uterus is extended because of the pregnancy. Pressure on the uterus can cause injury to the mother and the baby. A strong enough blow could cause injuries to the baby, bleeding, ruptured uterus, and premature labor.
Seek Emergency Medical Attention After a Car Accident While Pregnant
If you are pregnant, call your doctor immediately after a car accident. However, if you experience any signs of an injury or unexplained symptoms, seek emergency medical attention immediately.
Some of the signs that could indicate a serious pregnancy-related car accident injury include, but are not limited to:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of consciousness
- Changes in the baby’s movements
- Urgent or painful urination
- Severe headaches, chills, or fever
- Physical trauma to the abdomen
If you are unsure whether you or your baby were injured in the car wreck, it is best to go directly to the emergency room. Prompt treatment could save your life and your baby’s life.
Who Is Responsible for Your Injuries and Damages?
If your injuries meet the serious injury threshold, you might have a claim against the other driver. The other driver could be held financially liable for your damages and injuries. Damages in a car accident case could include:
- Medical expenses and bills
- Lost income and benefits
- Disabilities and impairments
- Decreased earning potential
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional and mental anguish and trauma
- Loss of quality of life
The other driver’s insurance company may deny liability for the claim based on the serious injury threshold. A car accident lawyer can review your case and advise you of your legal rights regarding a claim.
If you or your unborn baby suffered injuries, it is wise to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. Understanding your legal rights and your options for holding the at-fault driver responsible for your injuries is the best way to protect your and your baby’s best interests. Call (937) 222-2030 today to schedule a free, no obligation consultation with one our our Dayton car accident attorneys.
May 24, 2021 | Car Accident, News, Personal Injury
The car accident lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman Law have been fighting for Ohioans for over 27 years. We serve the greater Dayton area, with our personal injury law office centrally located at the 12 W. MONUMENT AVE., SUITE 100, DAYTON, OH 45402.
Our dedicated offices can be found in the heart of Downtown Dayton. As a Dayton native, Jack Hilgeman knows the importance of helping local people after an accident, injury, or wrongful death of a loved one. Our team of personal injury and car accident attorneys are here to help whether you have been injured at work, in a car or 18-wheeler accident, in a motorcycle accident, have been prescribed a defective drug, or need help fighting for a loved on who has been hurt or abused while in the a nursing home facility. Jack Hilgeman wants to fight for you, even against big corporations.
Get Your Free Case Review Today!
We want to hear from you! If you or a loved one has a personal injury case, contact us for a free consultation. You can fill out the form on this page or call us at (937) 222-2030, and one of our personal injury attorneys will reach out to you for a free case review. We work on a contingency fee basis. So If we take on your case, you won’t have to pay us anything unless we win!
Hurt in a car accident? Call our Dayton car accident lawyers now.
Often ranked within the top 5 for most overall vehicle crash deaths in cities within Ohio, the Dayton metro area ranks in the top 3 for freeway miles per capita in Ohio.
In 2021, Dayton Highway Patrol has already investigated 287 crashes. This number amounts to 2 more vehicle crash investigations than during the whole of 2020, setting us on track to experience a particularly deadly 2021. After reporting an accident within the city of Dayton, injury lawyer Jack Hilgeman might be the next person you want to call.
Families whose loved ones were seriously injured or killed in a Dayton car accident need legal help. They need to claim compensation for their financial losses, including medical expenses, lost present and future salary, and pain and suffering. They need Dayton car accident lawyers to handle their personal injury lawsuit. We are ready and waiting to take your call.
Accident victims and their families can get professional legal assistance from the car accident attorneys at Cowan & Hilgeman. Legal options can be discussed with you, and we will work hard to find out the best way to resolve your case, whether that’s a settlement or a personal injury lawsuit.
Our experienced Ohio car accident lawyers have championed thousands of Ohio victims’ rights for more than 30 years, and a Dayton accident lawyer with Cowan & Hilgeman can help you, too. Likewise, one of the car accident lawyers from our firm can fight for your best interests if you’re in that area.
Client Review: 5/5 ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Jack kept in contact with me regularly, keeping my updated with the details and status of my case. He helped maximize my settlement while also taking care of all my medical bill payments and advocating on my behalf. I would definitely recommend this office to anyone looking for a good lawyer team. Taylor B.
Apr 14, 2021 | Personal Injury
With the recent explosion in online sales, Amazon, FEDEX, UPS and USPS have been delivering more packages than ever before. Compared to last year, online purchasing is up 55%, and we spent $66.3 billion online in July 2020 alone. Someone has to deliver all of those packages, and many times the drivers are overworked, under trained, and under a lot of pressure to meet strict deadlines. It should come as no surprise that Amazon truck accidents are becoming more common.
Amazon truck accidents aren’t like regular car accidents:
– First, the sheer size of Amazon delivery vehicles can turn a low speed collision into a major health event.
– Second, you don’t just exchange insurance information and go on with your life. Amazon has an entire legal department devoted to dealing with Amazon truck accidents, and they know every trick in the book to minimize, delay and confuse your claim to fair compensation for your injuries. It is, after all, in their best interest to pay you as little as possible.
Who is responsible for an Amazon truck accident?
You would think that the simple and obvious answer would be: the driver who is at fault. But our Dayton truck accident attorneys at Cowan & Hilgeman have found that this is a much more complicated question. The parties who may potentially be found at-fault are:
The delivery driver
Did you know that, even if the at-fault driver’s truck is covered in Amazon or FedEx logos, they may not actually work for that company? Some companies hire independent contractors to handle their deliveries, but still require them to wear their logos and meet their delivery timelines.
Why do they do this? To avoid liability when a driver makes a mistake. When an independent contractor causes a crash, you can’t file a claim under Amazon or FedEx’s massive insurance policies. Instead, you’ll have to demand compensation from the contractor’s own policy or find other sources of coverage (like your uninsured/underinsured motorist policy). An experienced delivery truck attorney can help you pinpoint exactly who is responsible for your injuries and demand the compensation you deserve.
If the driver is an independent contractor and not an employee of the company, you can file a claim against the individual driver. The driver’s insurance company might offer you a settlement or you could take your case to court to fight for the compensation that you consider fair.
The delivery company
There is a theory of responsibility that makes a company responsible for the actions of its employees. If an employed driver commits a negligent or illicit act within the scope of work, the injured party can file a claim against the company itself. State laws determine the “scope of employment” in an accident.
A third person
In some cases, a third party, such as a driver or the vehicle manufacturer may be found responsible for an Amazon truck accident. In this case, the injured parties could sue the third party and/or the driver or company of the delivery truck.
Accidents involving delivery trucks can be enormously complex, even when a clear-cut case of driver negligence can be found. Navigating this challenging time, all while trying to heal from the physical, emotional and financial problems caused by an Amazon truck accident, should not be done without expert help and guidance. Going up against a massive company like Amazon, or one of their third-party delivery companies, is no easy task. As a business, they care more about their bottom line than doing what is right by those victimized in accidents with their drivers. They will offer lowball settlements, or they will try to deny the claim altogether and put the blame on you.
The truck accident attorneys at Cowan & Hilgeman Law have decades of experience fighting large companies like Amazon, to get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries. A no-obligation consultation is completely free, and we don’t get paid a dime unless we win your case. Call (937) 222-2030 today to arrange your free case review.