If you were hurt in a car accident, you likely received medical care for your injuries. And, depending on the severity of the harm you suffered, you might have had to miss work while recovering. With medical bills piling up and possibly lost income, you might be feeling overwhelmed because of the financial stresses associated with your accident.
Therefore, when the other party’s insurance company contacts you with an initial settlement offer, you might be tempted to take it. After all, it will relieve some of the financial burdens you are currently facing.
However, it is important to note that you do not have to accept the first insurance settlement offer. Depending on your case, it might be better to decline.
Why? Several reasons exist for rejecting the insurance company’s settlement. First, insurance companies are concerned about protecting their bottom line. Paying out large settlements can cut into their profits. Thus, they will typically make a meager initial offer.
Second, you might not have had time to fully assess the value of your case. At first glance, the initial offer can seem reasonable, especially if it appears to be covering most of your accident-related expenses and losses. However, damages suffered in a car accident may not be immediately apparent, and something can arise that was not considered in the first settlement offer.
Third, the insurance company might be aware that you are under a lot of stress. It might quickly make an offer to exploit your situation, hoping that you make a final decision without considering all factors involved in your case.
Accepting the first offer is tempting, but do not sign any papers before consulting with a personal injury attorney. By taking whatever the insurance company proposes, you could be cheating yourself out of compensation.
What Happens If I Reject a Settlement Offer?
Some people might immediately accept the first offer because they fear that rejecting it could mean the end of their claim and they will lose out on receiving any compensation at all. However, it is unlikely that declining the initial settlement will stop everything.
In car accident cases, insurance companies typically use the first offer as a starting off point. Although some claimants might accept it, others will recognize that it opens the doors for negotiations. Thus, if you reject the settlement offer, you have the opportunity to make a counteroffer and ask for an amount you believe is fair.
Rejecting the offer and speaking with a personal injury attorney allows you to assess what your case is worth. You can then write a demand letter with a dollar figure you are willing to accept.
The amount of compensation you are seeking should be based on several factors, including, but not limited to:
- The cause of the accident
- The extent of the other driver’s responsibility
- The medical treatment you have received so far
- The medical treatment you may need in the future
When crafting your demand letter, you must ensure that you have extensive documentation and evidence. You cannot ask for a certain amount of compensation without providing proof to the insurance company that such is necessary.
How Much Should I Expect from a Settlement Agreement?
The compensation you receive after an accident is important, as you need it to pay your medical expenses, make up for any lost wages, and help you get back on your feet. That said, it is difficult to say how much you should expect to receive. Every case is different, and amounts cannot be based on what someone else got in the past.
Your settlement amount will depend on several variables, such as the severity of your injuries and how extensive your medical treatment is.
Should I Hire an Attorney for My Car Accident Case?
Retaining legal representation for your car accident case is crucial. These are highly complex matters, the outcome of which can severely impact your ability to recover and start living your life again.
An attorney can review the insurance company’s first settlement offer and discuss the pros and cons of accepting it. They can also investigate your case and gather and preserve evidence necessary to start negotiating a fair compensation amount.
Having a lawyer take care of the details, including dealing with the other party’s insurance company, can relieve some of the burdens you are facing. With less to worry about concerning your claim, you can focus on your recovery.
At Robert James Trial Attorney, we are ready to provide the compassionate advocacy you need. Our DeKalb County team is experienced in handling complex personal injury claims and can work toward obtaining just compensation on your behalf.
Before accepting an insurance company’s offer, speak with a member of our team by calling or submitting an online contact form. Your initial consultation is free.