The other day I spoke with a very nice young woman who had been injured in an auto accident on I-40 near Nashville just after she had spoken with the insurance adjuster assigned to her case. Frustrated with the pace of the company’s assessment of the damage to her vehicle, the young woman told the adjuster she was going to hire a lawyer to which the adjuster replied "That’s fine, but won’t change anything other than you paying him money that would go in your pocket if you just settle directly with me." In 1995, an Allstate claims manual stressed the importance of an adjuster convincing an injured person not to hire a lawyer by noting that, in claims under $15,000, research indicated that people representing themselves received an average settlement of $3464 while people represented by lawyers averaged a recovery of $7450. The pattern holds true in higher dollar value claims: an Insurance Research Council study documented that 79% of all dollars paid to settle injury claims went to individuals represented by lawyers even though just 47% of the total number of claims involved attorney representation.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a Tennessee automobile accident, consult an attorney experienced in handling claims against insurance companies before agreeing to a settlement that may be less than deserved.