Car Accident Claims and Bad Faith
If you’ve been injured in a car accident and have been having difficulty trying to get the insurer to come to a reasonable settlement, there may be cause for hope. It seems that insurers would have no real incentive to negotiate a claim against them once they’ve passed their initial offer. (Insurers will often try to settle a car crash claim immediately to limit the damages that they will have to pay.) After all, most insurers have in-house counsel or they have a large firm on retainer, so it’s cost-effective for them to reject even the most reasonable of offers.
However, there is a danger for Georgia insurers and their attorneys who try to forestall a negotiation for the sake of wearing down the opposition. Recently there was a case were a small rear-end collision turned into a $7.2 million settlement because it was found that the insurance company was negotiating in bad faith. In this case, the defendant had the opportunity to settle the case early on for $100,000. However, because they didn’t, the plaintiff’s attorney was able to establish a bad faith claim against the insurer.
Georgia personal injury lawyers should make sure to draft a strong demand letter as early in the case as possible—one that includes a sum certain amount along with the bad faith language and the Georgia Unliquidated Damages Interest Act citation. This not only established bad faith on the part of the insurance company if the jury returns a verdict for more than the available coverage, but also establishes the starting point for the accrual of interest.
These are just a few techniques that an experienced Alpharetta-area car accident lawyer should utilize in trying to maximize the damages of a client’s personal injury case. While it is unlikely that every hundred-thousand dollar claim is going to balloon into a seven million dollar settlement, the case emphasizes the importance of having a qualified personal injury attorney handling your crash claim.
Experienced attorneys know that once they become involved, the insurance companies have no incentive to settle quickly. Bad faith claims are a way to put pressure on them to either come to an early settlement or to get juries to see that their clients are entitled to more for having been put on ice.