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Besides recovering from an injury, dealing with an insurance company is probably the most stressful aspect in the aftermath of an automobile accident. Insurance companies have been known to frustrate attempts by victims to get a fair amount of compensation. If you have been involved in a truck accident and
Do I Need a Lawyer?
An experienced lawyer can be a valuable asset whether you are planning to file a lawsuit or negotiate with an insurance company. For instance, if your personal injury lawyer has battled against Canal Insurance Company and won numerous times, you are likely going to get a higher settlement offer since Canal will be unwilling to go to trial with your lawyer. Remember that a trial is an expensive process, and even though insurance companies do not lack funds for their lawyers, they do not want to go to trial to lose either.
Some Tips When Negotiating with Canal Insurance Company
1. Never Accept the Initial Offer
When you begin your negotiation with Canal Insurance Company, do not be surprised when you receive an offer that is much lower than you are willing to settle for. Insurance companies tend to give you a lowball offer and hope that you accept it so they can save money. Many claimants unfortunately accept the lowball offer because of the hassles involved in dealing with an insurance company. However, with a little patience and back and forth, your settlement offer can go up. Therefore, do not accept the initial offer. Always make a counteroffer with supporting evidence.
2. Get Everything in Writing
You should be in the habit of getting everything in writing when dealing with an insurance company. This is so that everything can be recorded. If your claims adjuster says that he or she will do something, but fails to do, you can use a recorded written statement to counter the adjuster if he or she tries to deny everything agreeing to do something.
New Mexico Statute of Limitations
If your negotiation with Canal Insurance Company is unsuccessful and you wish to file a lawsuit instead, be aware that you have three years from the date of the accident to do so. Though you may have three years to file a lawsuit, it does not mean that you should wait even one or two years before filing a lawsuit. This is because key witnesses can disappear within that time and you may find it more difficult to have a successful case as time goes on. Therefore, if you find that an insurance company is trying to stall negotiations so that that the statute of limitations expires for your case, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
Canal Insurance Company
Canal Insurance Company was founded in the early twentieth industry to help the trucking industry. Though the company has done very well for itself over the past decades, it has not survived all these years by giving fair settlement to all of its claimants.
How Canal Insurance Company May Try to Defend Itself from Paying Compensation
1. Calling You While You Are in the Hospital
Some claims agents will call you while you are in the hospital to discuss the accident with you. Of course, when you have just been injured in a truck accident, your senses are probably not as keen as they would be in any other normal setting. Insurance claims agents try to take advantage of this opportunity by trying to get the victim to admit to the accident during this time. Do not be fooled by a claims agent who is overtly friendly and tries to act as if he or she trying to help you.
2. Asking You to Give a Recorded Statement
As a corollary to the tactic above, a claims agent may ask you to give a recorded statement. Though it may be tempting to tell the agent about your mounting medical bills and stress, do not talk to a claims agent without being fully prepared. Better yet, it may be best to let an attorney speak on your behalf. This is because if you tell an insurance claims agent your current injuries and medical bills at one point, but you later find out that you have more injuries later down the road, you may have your own recordings used against you.
3. Asking You to Give Authorization to Your Medical Records
Never let an insurance company allow access to your medical records for no good reason. Once an insurance company has access to your medical records, it will look at your entire medical history. If you have had other accidents or illnesses in the past, the insurance company will try to deny your claim by arguing that your current injuries are a result of past incidents.
4. Denying Your Claim Outright
Though truck accidents can lead to severe injuries and property damage, the trucker’s insurance company may still simply deny your claim by saying that it is completely the victim’s fault. This can often occur if the accident did not lead to major damages. The claims agent may argue that if it was truly a truck accident, there would have been more damage and state that it could not have been the trucker’s fault.
If there was massive damage, the claim agent may argue that the victim was at fault for most of the accident. They may say that if you were to take your case to court, you would receive much less compensation than the offer they are offering you. However, this is often a scare tactic and a bluff in trying to get you to accept their offer.
Be aware that New Mexico is a pure comparative fault state. This means that if a plaintiff was partially at fault for an accident, any amount he or she receives in a lawsuit will decrease by the percentage of fault that is attributed to the plaintiff.
Read More: Bad Faith Insurance Claims
5. Delaying Tactic
Another tactic insurance companies love to use is to delay processing your claim as long as possible. They achieve this by failing to respond to you in a timely manner or by not answering your phone calls. What they hope is that you give up. Sadly, many claimants do give you. When you have to go to work, repair your car, and deal with other life issues, you certainly do not feel like dealing with a claims agent.
Should I Settle with an Insurance Company or File a Lawsuit?
There are pros and cons for both settling with an insurance company and filing a lawsuit. Sometimes it may be more logical for you to take your case to court, and sometimes it may be more logical to simply settle with an insurance company. Below is a list of factors you should consider when deciding to settle or file a lawsuit.
Was Your Injury Caused by Extreme Negligence?
In New Mexico, there is no limit to punitive damages. Punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant for his or her negligence. This is in contrast to compensatory damages that compensate you for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and the like. If the trucker that injured you was extremely negligent while driving, you may qualify for punitive damages. If you are able to have reasonable certainty that you can receive a large amount of punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages, you may wish to file a lawsuit instead of settling.
Are You Afraid of Uncertainty?
Though a prepared trial lawyer will prepare for uncertainties, he or she cannot quash out every uncertainty that can happen at trial. For instance, a witness that is favorable to you may say something unfavorable on the stand or a witness that is key to your case may not show up at trial. Situations like these can ruin a case no matter how strong the case is.
A settlement is less uncertain because the amount that you agree with the insurance company will be the one that will be given.
How Much Money Are You Willing to Spend?
If your injuries are extremely severe, you may want to go to trial to get the highest amount of compensation available. For instance, if you suffered a major spinal cord injury and will need lifelong care and the insurance company is unwilling to settle at an amount you are comfortable with, taking your case to trial may be a logical option.
Understand, however, that taking your claim to trial is an expensive process. A personal injury lawyer who is taking a truck accident case will have to analyze evidence, review documents, prepare witnesses, and research case law for countless hours. Because a truck accident case can involve a large number of parties, the legal bills can rack up.
CONTACT A LAWYER TO DISCUSS A CLAIM AGAINST CANAL INSURANCE COMPANY
The experienced New Mexico attorneys at Zinda Law Group may be able to help you with your claim against Canal Insurance Company. 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. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
Meetings with attorneys by appointment only.