Insurance Settlements FAQs
How can I get answers to my specific questions about insurance settlements?
Contact The Law Offices of Scott C. Gottlieb & Associates, LLP, today. We’re happy to answer all of your questions and discuss your case in more detail. Contact us in Rochester at 800-TALK-LAW (800-825-5529) or fill out our online contact form. All calls and inquiries receive a response within the same day, usually within an hour. There is no case-review cost when you call.
Can insurance companies obtain information from your social media pages?
Under some circumstances, information posted on, but not limited to, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, Gmail, YouTube, blogs maintained by or commented on by you and community or tracking applications, such as Foursquare or Pinterest, can be obtained in an attempt to invalidate or minimize your claim.
When should I contact an insurance settlement lawyer?
As soon as possible after your accident. While it is never too late to contact an experienced New York personal injury attorney, the sooner you contact the Law Offices of Scott C. Gottlieb & Associates, LLP, the better. Remember that the negligent party started protecting his or her rights the moment the accident occurred by calling his or her insurance company. You should start protecting yours as early as possible too. Retaining the services of an experienced Rochester personal injury attorney levels the playing field, and also ensures that you will have an advocate by your side if your case cannot be settled and ends up going to trial.
Will I have to pay taxes on the settlement money I receive?
As a general rule, you will not have to pay income taxes on the amount of the settlement. This is particularly true if the funds represent pain and suffering compensation.
The insurance company has made me a settlement offer. Should I accept it?
Probably not. Insurance companies often make an initial offer that is considerably less than what the claim is truly worth. They may even make an offer without doing a thorough investigation just to spare the expense of the investigation. If you believe that you have a valid claim, then taking a low offer at the beginning of the case is not a good idea. It is best to have an experienced Rochester personal injury attorney review your case and the offer before agreeing to accept it. If you feel that the offer was made in good faith, you may wish to counter with your own offer that is a bit less than your original demand. This indicates that you are willing to negotiate in good faith. Always emphasize the strong points of your case when negotiating an offer to settle. If the other party was clearly at fault, focus on that. Likewise, if your injuries are serious, be sure to provide documentation to that effect when negotiating a settlement. Negotiating a personal injury settlement can be time-consuming and complex, which is why you should contact the Law Offices of Scott C. Gottlieb & Associates, LLP, to ensure that your rights are protected.
Can the insurance adjuster record our phone call?
In most cases, an insurance adjuster can record a phone conversation even without asking. Remember that anything you say could be used against you down the road. Therefore, it is best not to speak to provide a statement about the accident until you have consulted with a Rochester accident attorney.
The insurance company sent me a “reservation of rights” letter. What does it mean?
Often, an injured victim will receive a reservation of rights letter shortly after filing an insurance claim. This letter informs you that the company is investigating your claim, but that it is reserving its right not to pay you anything if it turns out that the accident was not covered under the policy. The insurance company must still thoroughly investigate your claim and negotiate with you fairly. The letter simply protects the insurance company by preventing you from claiming that the company must cover your damages just because it began investigating your claim.
How long will it take to settle my claim?
It depends. The law requires all claims to be paid in a “prompt and reasonable” manner. However, what constitutes “prompt and reasonable” could vary depending on the facts and circumstances of a claim. Claims that require extensive investigations will often take longer to process. An accident that caused severe injuries to more than one victim, for example, could take longer to settle than a simple fender bender where only one person received minor injuries.
Is the insurance company allowed to make surveillance videos of me or my family without our permission?
Not only are they allowed to, but they often do conduct video surveillance. Insurance companies claim that they investigate claims in an effort to prevent fraud. Unfortunately, this means that legitimately injured victims with valid claims are often subjected to an insurance company’s camera.
Can I bring a bad-faith claim against the insurance company if I think a settlement offer is too low?
Maybe. By law, insurance companies have a duty to handle claims promptly, reasonably and in good faith. If an insurance company fails or refuses to honor its contractual obligation to pay your valid claim, then you may have the right to sue the insurance company for damages. A settlement offer that is intentionally much less than what is reasonable could form the basis of a bad-faith insurance lawsuit.