With states locking-down and activities being restricted during the Coronavirus pandemic, more and more people across the country are being forced to work from home. Those in the toilet paper and hand sanitizer industries may be loving the current situation. However, those of us with an insurance claim may be concerned about collecting our lost income.
You were hit and the accident wasn’t your fault. You have a police report and a witness. The insurance company is doing an investigation of the claim.
Insurance company investigations may take 30 days or longer these days. It’s harder to find people working and willing/able to travel to examine equipment. The adjuster on your case may be working from home which is a big transition and can slow down the process.
You calculated your repairs and lost income and asked for payment. The adjuster offered only a tiny amount that doesn’t even cover the repair estimate. Be firm but patient. With the coronavirus stress, people may be dealing with increased stress and be irritable. Don’t feed into it.
If you are handling the claim yourself, remember adjusters juggle hundreds of claims at a time. This is your only claim and it’s personal. Push for the adjuster to settle the claim for a fair amount. Stay professional and don’t lose your cool. Working with adjusters can be frustrating, but most do want to settle your claim… eventually.
If you hire an attorney, provide the documents asked for ASAP. In our law firm, we have a list of exactly what is needed to get your downtime case moving. The faster you get us what we need, the faster we can work our magic. (PRO TIP: Cooperating with your attorney will speed your claim along and increase your chances of recovery even outside of this coronavirus situation.)
Gathering documents can be a bother and may feel like you’re jumping through hoops to get the downtime owed to you. There are certain documents needed to calculate your loss. Further documents may be needed down the road to appease the adverse. Our firm only provides those documents necessary to settle the claim. We’ve had clients say, “Why are you just giving them what they’re asking for? You need to fight for me!” Rest assured, we only give the other side documents when: 1) they are “discoverable” meaning the other side can make you produce them in litigation, 2) it speeds up your case, 3) the old adage “you catch more flies with honey” is true. Kindness often makes the other side more willing to work together and settle your case without the expense and stress of litigation. Our firm is not afraid of a fight, but we do want to be smart in picking our battles. Our goal is to collect the most money we can for you, while making this experience as quick and painless for you as possible.
What is a reasonable settlement? This varies by case. The current coronavirus situation may also influence your decision. With the country’s economy taking a big hit, lower downtime offers may need to be seriously considered.
The average person seems to be under the impression that the trucking industry is booming right now with all of the extra loads being delivered to grocery stores. However, some of our clients are seeing a boom in work while others are struggling. If your business is booming, you may be able to wait on things to get back to “normal” before settling. If your business is suffering, it may be time to settle for less lost income than you had envisioned. Your current lack of work should not be used as a justification to recover previously lost work. It’s not fair, but it’s the truth.
Many clients are under the impression that litigation will help them quickly recover everything they have lost. In the best of times, the court system is backed up. It could take a year or more before trial. Now, in the “Corona Age,” many courts are closed and trials are delayed into the future unknown.
We recommend litigation to clients when we believe the costs of their time, money, and stress are justified by the amount they will likely recover. With this coronavirus slowing down litigation and causing more stress, the cost-benefit of litigation shifts.
If you are represented by an attorney, have a serious conversation weighing any offers versus the strength of your case. If you do not have an attorney, you may want to schedule a consultation to discuss your options. Regardless of whether you have representation, you need to take a step back and think objectively about your settlement offer and next steps.