Is Liberty Mutual Offering Me a Fair Settlement?Last updated on: May 31, 2018
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Liberty Mutual Insurance is one of the largest property and casualty insurance companies in the United States. Besides offering property and casualty insurance, Liberty Mutual also offers automobile insurance and boat insurance. Though Liberty Mutual has been in the insurance business since 1912, it has not necessarily survived this long because of its goodwill towards customers. After all, insurance companies could not survive if they accepted every claim. If you’ve been in an accident and are dealing with Liberty Mutual, make sure they are offering you a fair settlement.
If you or your loved one has filed a claim with Liberty Mutual Insurance but concerned about the settlement process, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers.
LIBERTY MUTUAL’S GOAL IS TO MAKE A PROFIT
Though Liberty Mutual’s advertisements claim that they are in your corner after an accident, they are first and foremost a corporation. Like most insurance companies, Liberty Mutual is not known for giving victims generous compensation. After all, insurance companies look to satisfy their shareholders by making profits. If insurance companies simply gave every victim the amount his or her claim is actually worth, they would go out of business very quickly. However, this does not mean that you should be satisfied with stingy settlement offers. Remember that you can negotiate with an insurance company, and by negotiating well, you may be able to get the insurance company to provide you with compensation much closer to the amount you requested.
Read More: How to Negotiate with an Insurance Company
LIBERTY MUTUAL INSURANCE WILL ATTEMPT TO DENY AND DELAY YOUR CLAIM AS A THIRD-PARTY CLAIMANT
In a report drafted by the American Association for Justice, it noted that Liberty Mutual Insurance was one of the ten worst insurance companies in the United States. The reason for Liberty Mutual’s inclusion in this list is that it has a policy of denying, delaying, and defending against claims.
First, Liberty Mutual will often try to deny your claim. For instance, if you were involved in a car accident, and, as a result, suffer chronic back pains, Liberty Mutual Insurance will likely try to deny your claim by saying that your back pains are a result of something other than the car accident. They may try to claim that the pains are from a previous accident or some preexisting condition.
If denying your claim does not work, Liberty Mutual will likely try to delay your claim. Insurance companies may delay a claim for several reasons. One is that it helps insurance companies generate more revenue. Insurance companies generate a significant portion of their profits through interest. By holding onto their money as long as possible, they are earning more interest on it.
Another reason why insurance companies will try to delay a claim is that by doing so, they hope that a client will be encouraged to accept a small settlement. Oftentimes, after an accident, a victim will be out of work for some period of time. Accordingly, they may need money fast and will be frustrated by the delays of an insurance company. As a result, they may just simply accept a lowball offer by an uncooperative insurance company rather than fight back.
Running Out the Clock
One other important reason for an insurance company’s delaying tactic is that it hopes to run the clock so that you may not be able to file a lawsuit if you are unhappy with the settlement offer. Remember that a personal injury lawsuit may only be filed within a couple of years after the accident. Because a threat of filing a lawsuit is undesirable to an insurance company, it will try to take away this leverage by delaying your claim.
LIBERTY MUTUAL MAY NOT TREAT YOU WELL EVEN IF YOU ARE ITS CUSTOMER
Though insurance companies have a duty to treat their customers’ claims in good faith, Liberty Mutual may treat you unfairly even if you are a paying customer. Some examples of Liberty Mutual’s bad faith practices include:
- Failing to do a proper investigation of a claim
- Causing unnecessary delays for a claim
- Denying a valid claim
- Refusing to offer a reasonable settlement
- Not adequately defending against a lawsuit
- Unfair interpretation of an insurance contract
DEALING WITH LIBERTY MUTUAL INSURANCE CLAIMS ADJUSTERS
You can file a claim with Liberty Mutual Insurance in several ways, such as by visiting a facility or by utilizing their online portal. You may also be able to get an estimate of your claim by using their Express Estimate feature. For example, if you send a picture of your damaged car, Liberty Mutual Insurance may be able to send you an estimate of how much it can offer you for the repair.
In any case, once an insurance claim is filed with Liberty Mutual Insurance, one of their claims adjusters will gather information to evaluate your claim. The information generally comes from pictures of the accident, police reports, witness statements, repair estimates, and any oral statements the claimant makes.
Be wary if an insurance claims adjuster wants to speak with you. Though he or she may sound like they want to help you, they are not working for you. They work for their company, and they will try their very best to avoid giving you a fair settlement offer. Therefore, do not say anything that may be used against you later on. For instance, do not say anything that might suggest that you were responsible for the accident. I n fact, it is best that you do not talk to an insurance claims adjuster until you speak with an experienced attorney so you can be prepared.
IF YOU PLAN TO FILE A CLAIM ON YOUR OWN
Though we do not encourage you to do so, if you decide to file a claim on your own without an attorney’s assistance, below are some tips.
Be Careful What You Say and Keep Your Story Straight
Whenever you speak with an insurance claims adjuster, assume that you are being recorded. You need to be consistent in every conversation. Unfortunately, most of us do not have a photographic memory. In most day-to-day situations, we have no need to be perfectly accurate about a particular event. However, with an insurance adjuster, you have very little leeway to deviate from the initial statement you make about what happened at the accident. If you, for instance, tell the insurance adjuster that the other driver hit you because he or she was changing lanes erratically, but in a later encounter, you say that you do not remember whether he or she changed lanes at all, you may have potentially given the insurance adjuster a reason to lower the value of your claim. Therefore, be sure to write down a statement that details what occurred during the accident and do not deviate from that statement when speaking with an insurance adjuster. Remember that a claims adjuster will use any inconsistency as a justification to give you a lower settlement offer.
Document Everything that an Insurance Claims Adjuster Says
Once you have spoken with an insurance claims adjuster, ask the company to send you an email or a letter detailing what was discussed over the phone. This is important because if the insurance company promised you a certain amount of money but later backtracks, you will have evidence to counter them.
MAXIMIZING YOUR SETTLEMENT WITH LIBERTY MUTUAL
Document as Much as Possible of Your Accident and the Associated Losses
After an accident, be sure to take photographs of the accident scene itself. For instance, if you got into a car wreck and are able, take photographs of the car crash and any injuries you received.
Additionally, you will want to keep all documents related to the losses you incurred because of the accident. This includes medical bills and lost wages.
Calculate the Lowest Satisfactory Settlement Offer You Are Willing to Take
Because you cannot expect the insurance claims adjuster from Liberty Mutual to give you a fair settlement offer, you will need to calculate how much you think is fair. When you begin negotiations, do not accept any offer that is way below the settlement offer you calculated.
Read More: How to Calculate the Value of a Case
Keep Your Cool and Be Patient
An insurance claims process can be frustrating. The insurance company knows this and wants you to give up or accept a lowball offer. Do not let them win.
Discuss Your Case with an Experienced Attorney
Even if you do not want to hire an attorney to deal with an insurance company on your behalf, we encourage you to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer for some advice. Experienced personal injury lawyers deal with insurance companies daily and therefore know the tactics insurance companies use. It would be helpful to have some advice from an attorney before you decide to file a claim with an insurance company.
CONTACT A ZINDA LAW GROUP PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER
The experienced car accident attorneys at Zinda Law Group may be able to help you ensure Liberty Mutual is offering you a fair settlement. After an accident, you shouldn’t have to worry about affording legal representation, which is why we work on a contingency fee basis. You don’t owe us anything unless we win your case.
Call us at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers today.
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