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DIY Settlements

DAVID PISANIC: When we had fatalities, we are able to settle claims for a pittance in some cases of what they were actually worth, because people were not represented. People did not know how much their claims were worth. I am being asked by the insurance company to put your name on the dotted line for as little amount of money as possible, paying you not one dime more than we have to.

When a lawyer is involved that sort of triggered everybody, wait a minute, I am an insurance adjuster, your case might be worth a lot more than I first thought. I remember one claim where a kid was literally thrown off of a school bus and then the bus driver picked up the boy's backpack and threw it off the bus and hit the little boy while he was lying on the ground. This is a 10-year-old boy. I settled that case for a very little amount of money. His parents really did not understand what was really going on in the sense what the value of the claim was worth. If they had known, they would have probably gotten an attorney and there would have been much greater reward and in some cases that would have been appropriate. Because lets face it, if that was to happen to my son, I would be very angry and I would want to be compensated, I would want my family compensated for that kind of horrible wrong.

That is when you need to go to a lawyer. If there is a lot at stake for you, you need to make sure that you are being taken seriously. That is always a good idea.

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With a plethora of "do-it-yourself" law books on the market, the temptation to spare yourself the expense of a lawyer often leads individuals to settle cases themselves, "negotiating" directly with the insurance adjuster without the services of a professional.

Now, there's no law against settling your own claims all by yourself. And there's no law against cutting a bad deal out of pure ignorance. If you don't know how the system works, or have the expertise to assess the settlement value of your case, you may be selling yourself short. Insurance adjusters often waive checks around at an early stage of the claim ... long before all of the damages are realized and before you have had a chance to retain counsel.

As David Pisanic confessed in this segment, the carrier's objective is to get your name on the dotted line of a full and final release for "as little an amount of money as possible." He knows what your case is really worth -- and he also knows that he can cut a better deal with unrepresented claimants than with those who have retained attorneys.

Law Can Be Stranger than Fiction

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