When you are a car accident victim, you understandably want to resolve your accident claim quickly. However, if you have injuries and significant losses from a motor vehicle accident, it may require patience to fight for the full and fair compensation. Insurance companies want to move fast and try to deny claims quickly whenever possible. They often make rapid settlement offers to victims when the liability for the accident is clear and difficult for them to avoid, hoping to pay less than they should.
Many accident victims face the challenging decision of whether or not to accept the insurer’s first settlement offer. Victims may feel pressure to resolve their claim sooner rather than later, but you should be hesitant to accept the insurance company’s first car accident settlement offer without reviewing it with an experienced lawyer.
The Insurance Company’s First Offer Is a Test
An insurance company will rarely offer an initial settlement that accounts for the maximum damages available to you in your case. Their initial settlement offer will usually not even come close to your losses. Representatives of an insurance company make settlement offers quickly, hoping to close out a claim before a victim gets a lawyer or realizes the extent of the losses sustained due to the car accident.
It is not uncommon for insurance companies to make an offer just days following an accident. While many accident victims may perceive this as a positive impression of the insurance company and their efficient resolution of the claim, it should instead serve as a warning sign that you are likely entitled to much more compensation.
First Settlement Offers Often Come Too Soon and Are Too Low
First settlement offers are often way below the value of a claim. An offer made days after an accident puts the victim in a position of having to predict the accident’s impacts on their life without sufficient information. It is challenging for victims to know the costs and impacts of an accident injury when they have not yet recovered and have not incurred all the expenses they likely will.
Complications and unexpected consequences from injuries can arise long after a crash. What may seem like a minor injury may cause disabilities or require more invasive medical interventions. To accept a settlement, you must understand your motor vehicle accident injuries and their impacts on your life.
What Happens if You Accept the First Settlement Offer?
In most car accident cases, accepting the first settlement offer from an insurance company is a mistake that can have irreversible consequences. Once you alert the insurer of your acceptance of an offer, they will have you sign releases and documents that will serve to close out the case and claim. You cannot undo an acceptance of a settlement offer even if you become aware that your losses and injuries are more severe than you initially thought.
After you accept the settlement, the insurance company will quickly pay out the claim and close the case. Once you accept the money, you will not be able to seek additional compensation or modify the settlement.
If You Do Not Have a Lawyer, Now Is The Time
One of the most significant benefits of hiring a car accident attorney to represent you in a personal injury claim is that they will advise throughout the case and help determine if a settlement offer covers your losses. Without an experienced attorney to help calculate your losses, you may not have a clear idea of what makes an acceptable settlement.
Deciding to accept an offer without the knowledge necessary to guide you can result in missing out on compensation you are entitled to receive. However, so long as you have not accepted a settlement, you can still turn to a lawyer to step in and negotiate your settlement using their experience and informed perspective.
How Can Negotiations With an Insurance Company Increase a Settlement Offer?
Negotiations are a standard part of the claims process; an initial offer is only the starting point. An attorney will assist you by carefully estimating the damages accrued after the crash and any additional losses you may face in the future. With this number in hand, your lawyer will negotiate with the insurance company to settle for close to that amount.
An attorney can use evidence of liability, proof of your injuries, and the impact of those injuries to bolster your case and push for a higher settlement. If an insurer refuses to settle for a reasonable amount, your attorney can take the case to court. An insurer risks higher legal costs and a larger damages award if a claim goes to court. The insurer is more likely to offer a higher settlement to avoid expensive court costs, especially if your lawyer has evidence that would prove difficult to undermine in court.
When Will You Know if a Settlement Is Worth Accepting?
An attorney can help you break down your losses from injuries, property damage, lifestyle changes, and lost wages resulting from the accident. Your lawyer will examine each offer made and discuss whether it will reasonably cover your losses.
You can discuss with your attorney the likelihood of a higher offer and the implications of accepting or denying it. With this information, you can make an informed decision that will most benefit you after your car accident.
If you are in a motor vehicle accident, contact an experienced attorney for your free consultation. Let a lawyer handle communication with the insurance company, negotiate on your behalf, and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.