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Abels & Annes, P.C. Personal Injury Blog

Do Lawyers Lie About Settlements?

Can Lawyers Lie About Your Settlement?

Insurance defense lawyers have every reason to want you to try to deal with the insurance company independently. In many respects, your lawyer holds them accountable.

Having an experienced attorney on your side keeps them from getting away with things like arbitrarily denying your claim and trying to grossly underpay your total damages. Their tactics make you mistrust lawyers and the entire legal system.

The more insurance companies scare you away from having a lawyer, the more you should know that it is in your best interests to have one.

Insurance Companies Have a Conflict

Can My Attorney Lie About A SettlementInsurance companies cannot be trusted when they try to give you warnings about others or so-called truthful advice. An insurance company has a natural conflict when it handles your claim. The more money they give you, the less money they make. When an adjuster says they are trying to “look out for you,” they are looking out for the insurance company and no one else.

One common scare tactic that insurance companies use is to convince you that your lawyer is just a settlement factory that will seek to dispose of your case as fast as possible by reaching a quick agreement. Of course, this cuts against everything that a lawyer tells you when they promise to fight for you when the insurance company is trying to underpay you.

One value that a lawyer adds to your case is that they advise you when an insurance company is offering you less than you deserve. They will then advise you to reject the settlement offer and counter with a demand letter stating what you deserve and why. If a settlement is in your best interests and covers your losses, your lawyer should advise you of this instead of encouraging you to keep fighting for more when it is a waste of time.

Lawyers Cost Themselves Money, Too, if Your Case Settles for Less

Your lawyer is working for you on a contingency basis. Even if it were not legally and ethically wrong to settle your claim for too little, they cost themselves money by rushing an early settlement. In reality, the lawyer has a legal obligation to put your interests ahead of theirs. They must give you legal advice and representation based on what works in your particular circumstances.

A lawyer who lies to their client will likely face disciplinary action sooner than later. They may not even be a lawyer for too much longer if they lied to their clients.

Clients Get Unhappy With Lawyers When Settlement Money Runs Out

At the same time, lawyers also work based on referrals and recommendations. The best thing for a lawyer’s business is to have a long track record of successfully helping clients achieve results. Satisfied clients help them get other new clients. That is how the entire personal injury law system works.

Clients will know when they have settled a case for less than they deserved. The money they need will begin to run low at some point. They will remember that the lawyer gave them the advice to accept the settlement offer.

They can either:

  • Leave the lawyer a bad public review
  • Not recommend the lawyer to any of their friends or family
  • File a disciplinary complaint if they think that the lawyer lied to them

If a lawyer functions like an assembly line for quick and rushed settlement agreements, they will not maintain a business for long.

Insurance Companies Scare You About Lawyers Rushing When They Want You to Rush

In reality, you can see the disingenuousness in this insurance company scare tactic. They claim that a lawyer will rush your case and settle it quickly for less than you deserve when that is precisely what the insurance company wants to do to you. They want you to be defenseless, so they can take advantage of you in the manner that they are accusing someone else.

One common tactic that insurance companies and their defense lawyers use to sow doubt in your mind is to convince you that your lawyer is lying to you about a settlement in many regards. Insurance lawyers like to claim that lawyers persuade people they can receive a large personal injury settlement if only they call a lawyer first. Then those same people end up disappointed and paying their lawyer a large share of anything they receive.

To unpack this myth a little more, you should know that lawyers cannot promise you a result in your case. This type of promise will violate the rules that lawyers must follow. Lawyers can promise you that they will do everything in their power to maximize your personal injury claim. In fact, this is precisely why you hire a lawyer. When an insurance company faults lawyers for promising large settlements, they are deliberately confusing you on the role of an attorney.

Lawyers Work for You to Keep the Insurance Company Accountable

What the lawyer is promising is to work on your behalf. They will help prepare your claim to present to the insurance company (or your lawsuit complaint to file in court). Then, if the insurance company makes you a settlement offer, your lawyer will review it to see if it adequately compensates you for your injuries.

If the offer is not enough, your lawyer will advise you to reject it. They may keep wrangling back-and-forth with the insurance company until they have made an offer that is enough to pay you for what you have lost. Nowhere in there is a lie about the size of the settlement.

An attorney can tell you that they get results for clients because that is true. They can say that they will work tirelessly on your behalf. They cannot promise you a specific amount or make representations about the size of a settlement.

True, there have been some horror stories of lawyers who negotiate settlements behind their client’s back or lie about reaching settlements when they have not. Those practices are against all legal ethics and norms. The instances in which these practices happen are few and far between. They will be considered a significant departure from the norm.

Nobody can promise that every person in a profession follows all the rules. There is practically no profession around where there is nobody who has intentionally broken the law.

Do Not Let Stories of Bad Lawyers Scare You Off

The law has mechanisms to weed out and punish bad actors who commit these acts. An attorney who violates ethical rules can face censure, suspension, or disbarment. Still, these lawyers are few and far between.

Most attorneys follow the rules and work hard for their clients every day. If there are some rule-breaking lawyers, it should not be used as a broad-based fear tactic to keep people from hiring attorneys. An equivalent of the insurance company’s argument is a person not seeing a doctor when they have a life-threatening illness because some doctors commit medical malpractice.

Your Attorneys Will Work Hard for You

The vast majority of personal injury attorneys care deeply about their clients’ legal rights and will do everything to fight for the people they represent to receive more money. They come to work every day to work as hard as possible for you and your family.

Lawyers earn a living from their work, but that living comes when they put their clients in a position to succeed. However, they cannot put their own financial interests first, no matter what scare tactics insurance companies use.

The Insurance Company Wants You Mistrusting Lawyers

There should be nothing stopping you from contacting an experienced attorney as soon as possible after your accident. You should certainly not trust the insurance company that will be legally responsible for paying you the damages their policyholder caused you through their negligence.

They want to drive a wedge between you and a prospective attorney because they want you to come to them independently. When that happens, they know exactly what to do to you. They have no interest in doing anything for you, and they want you to be as defenseless as possible because it can save them money.

Insurance companies have every possible interest in the narrative that lawyers are evil, and you can only trust them (the good lawyers). When a company with as poor a track record as insurance companies tell you that something is evil, you should think just the opposite.

Your Lawyer Is Here to Help You Through the Legal Process

In any personal injury case, your lawyer will be your guide to the legal process and your biggest advocate. Your involvement with them begins with the initial consultation. They will listen to your story and ask you questions about your case. They will also answer your questions and explain the legal process to you.

The attorney may also outline your options for how you can obtain financial compensation. At that point, both you and the lawyer will decide whether you want to work with each other.

Then, an attorney will investigate the facts and gather evidence to prove that someone else was responsible for your injuries. If you can demonstrate liability, you will be in a position to receive financial compensation. This work is just the beginning of the legal process for many accident victims.

In some cases, the insurance company may concede liability early in your case. However, they reserve the bulk of their efforts for negotiating the actual compensation. It is there where they think that they can win.

Your Lawyer Works for You to Get Full Compensation

Gary Annes Lawyer
Gary Annes, Personal Injury Lawyer

Often, your lawyer’s value comes when they get the insurance company to raise your settlement offer dramatically. The initial settlement offer can be pennies on the dollar because the insurance company wants to see what you will accept.

One of the reasons why insurance companies try to scare people away from hiring lawyers is that an attorney will let you know when a settlement offer is too low. They provide you with valuable information about what your claim is worth. You may be entirely in the dark about how much money you can get for your damages without an attorney.

Attorneys Will Let You Know Exactly What the Insurance Company Is Doing to You

Insurance companies want you to be uninformed. Then, they can play the role of the “generous” insurance company doling out money a little bit at a time. They think they can shortchange you, and then you will thank them. Hiring an attorney will shatter this illusion. Therefore, insurance companies will spread misconceptions about personal injury lawyers.

Fear is a powerful motivator, and insurance companies are scared of an aggressive personal injury lawyer. As a result, they want to scare you away from working with an attorney. Do not believe what insurance companies are selling. If you believe it, you will end up with a serious case of caveat emptor.

There is a struggle between the insurance company and the attorney in many personal injury cases. They are on two completely different sides of the coin. The insurance industry likes to demonize personal injury attorneys because they know a lawyer’s value for their clients.

At the same time, attorneys let you know what the insurance company is really like. Stand on the side of the person whose job depends on getting you more money instead of the one whose existence is to keep you from receiving full payment for your injuries.

While many people want to believe insurance adjusters, believe an experienced insurance dispute lawyer instead. Seek a free case evaluation today.

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