Never Take the Insurance Company’s First Settlement Offer After a Car Accident

By Becki Andrus | On

It’s good news that you are receiving a settlement for a personal injury claim! Not only are you navigating pain and recovery after an accident, but the medical bills are stacking up. Most car accident victims are ready to sign on the bottom line when the insurance company offers monetary compensation.

But settling the case too early could mean that you are missing out on available compensation. It’s always important to know your rights. The best thing you can do is talk to a personal injury attorney about your case.

DIY vs. Pro Legal Representation

The biggest mistake that causes victims to lose financial compensation is because they work with the insurance company directly. The misguided logic is that a DIY approach will save money in legal fees.

The truth is that DIY settlements are often a fraction of the price when you compare the potential payouts from working with a personal injury attorney. Not only do you have medical bills after a car accident. You could potentially receive money for other related costs – such as lost wages and pain and suffering

Hiring a car accident attorney ensures that you have a legal representative with your best interests in mind. Your attorney will help you navigate the confusing insurance industry. The goal is to maximize your compensation, ensuring you receive the money you deserve.

Insurance Settlement or Going to Court

The legal fees add up quickly when car accident claims go to court. Since the insurance company is interested in saving as much money as possible, it’s common to offer a settlement deal before the case moves into the court system.

Insurance adjusters will first attempt to offer a settlement to you directly, without the consultation of an attorney. If you accept this first settlement, then you are leaving money on the table. The next step is for the insurance company to negotiate with your attorney. Finally, if both parties can’t reach a settlement, then the claim moves to court.

An insurance settlement is often a great solution to avoid the headache and expenses of court proceedings. But you must hire the services of a skilled car accident attorney. This ensures you receive the full amount of compensation available.

Why You Shouldn’t Accept the Initial Offer

The first settlement offer from the insurance company might look like a substantial amount. But most car accident victims don’t understand how much money it’s going to take to cover future associated costs. If you are going to require ongoing medical care or live with chronic pain, then it’s likely that the initial offer is too low.

Here are a few reasons why it’s a bad idea to accept the first offer from the insurance company:

  • The insurance adjuster is trying to reduce costs: The insurance provider is a business, which means that their profit margins are their highest priority. Your point of contact at the insurance company doesn’t have your best interest in mind. Since their priority is to save the company money, you can assume that their offer doesn’t align with your priorities.
  • You deserve payment for medical costs and other damages: Most of the time, the initial insurance settlement only covers the cost of your medical expenses. But you deserve more! In addition to paying your medical bills, the insurance company should also be paying you for property damage, lost wages, and any other related damages. Additionally, your attorney can help you access funds for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. In serious car accidents, other damages can be as much or more than the costs to pay the medical bills.
  • Starting point for negotiations: Insurance adjusters intentionally start low with their offerings because it is a starting point for negotiations. They know that most people will negotiate a higher payout. So, the strategy is to begin with a low number – knowing that they have room to increase the settlement in the negotiations.
  • Insurance companies want to avoid court: In most situations, you can get more money because the insurance company is motivated to avoid court proceedings. Going to court will cost the insurance company a lot of money in legal fees. They will pay a higher amount to you directly if they can reach a settlement agreement for less than the anticipated court costs.
  • Once you sign, the offer is final: When you accept an offer by signing on the bottom line, then it means that the offer is final. At this point, you don’t have the option to request more compensation or provide additional documents. Even if your case seems straightforward, it takes time for the medical bills to come through. Also, a quick settlement doesn’t account for other common issues, such as permanent disability, rehabilitation expenses, your ability to work, additional surgeries, or the need to see a therapist for trauma issues.

If you accept an early settlement, you will likely be holding the bill when additional out-of-pocket expenses come up. In moderate and severe car accidents, these ongoing costs can continue for the rest of your life.

The bottom line: never accept a settlement from an insurance adjuster before talking to a car accident attorney. Your legal representation will help you maximize available compensation.

When to Hire a Car Accident Attorney

There is no reason to wait before you contact an attorney. If you are in a car accident, your first priority is to contact a car accident attorney for help. These legal services ensure that you are protecting your best interests through the settlement, negotiations, and potential court proceedings.

Filing a personal injury claim is often the support you need to manage your bills and recover after an accident. You deserve to have a knowledgeable legal team by your side. Our team at Shamieh Law has the specialized experience you are looking for. Offering full-service solutions and personalized support. Contact us to schedule a consultation so we can discuss your case.

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