Dealing with the insurance company is one of the most complicated aspects of a car accident. Insurance companies are the ones responsible for paying out damages on behalf of the responsible party. However, insurance companies are focused on maintaining their bottom line. Do you have to accept an insurance settlement?
You do not have to accept a settlement from an insurance company. In fact, you should almost always reject their first offer, as it is likely to be much lower than the expenses you have paid.
Be prepared to be contacted by an insurance adjuster. They are trained negotiators who will work to pressure you into admitting wrongdoing so they can minimize payouts or will offer extremely low sums.
You will be able to protect your interests best by hiring a lawyer who can liaise with them. Your representative won’t be swayed by their tactics, so you get the payout you deserve.
Insurance Settlement Guide
Here’s a brief overview of what many can expect from an insurance company following a car accident.
Insurance Settlement Process
Insurance companies have a process for handling claims. Once they have been notified about a claim, they will assign it to an insurance adjuster whose responsibility it is to conduct an investigation. This investigation is meant to determine the amount that they will offer.
The adjuster will examine evidence of the accident that led to your injury, calculate your economic damages up to that point, and attempt to find ways to minimize the amount that they can offer you.
One common way that insurance companies low-ball offers is by only factoring in medical expenses up to that point. They do not include future medical expenses that can be extremely costly, including long-term physical therapy and corrective surgery down the line.
They don’t care if this is unfair or unjust. Even though their client is responsible for causing you significant harm, their focus remains on protecting their money.
This is why it is important to have someone in your corner who is putting you first. Hiring a car accident attorney or personal injury lawyer will ensure that you are not exploited by greedy companies. Your attorney will fight to get you the compensation you deserve, even if it means turning down the first insurance settlement offer.
How to Respond to a Settlement Offer
Once the insurance company offers you a settlement, you will need to decide how to respond.
Many individuals representing themselves will be swayed to take an offer that is far lower than what they deserve. They are unaware that insurance companies always make a low first offer.
In these cases, it is best to talk to a car accident lawyer before accepting an insurance settlement. A lawyer will be able to determine if the insurance company is offering you a fair amount.
The attorneys at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath get paid on contingency, meaning that we do not get paid until you do. This inspires our team to work to get you the highest settlement possible from an insurance company.
Speaking with a member of our legal team will help you understand how much more we can get you than what the insurance company is offering.
What happens after you reject the initial offer?
Insurance companies expect you to reject their first offer. Typically, these offers are about 40% of the value of your claim, without any consideration for future medical expenses.
They offer a low amount to try and scare you into accepting so they won’t have to pay more. Many people anticipate that this is the best offer, so they accept without consulting a legal professional who could better advise them.
Once you hire a lawyer who advises you to reject the offer, your attorney will write a demand letter to the company to request a higher sum. Both parties will exchange letters until a settlement is arrived at that is agreeable for both parties.
However, if a number cannot be agreed to, your lawyer at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath is prepared to take your case to trial. Cases that go to trial take longer to reach a verdict, but ultimately earn victims a higher award.
When to Accept a Settlement
If you are determined to pursue an insurance settlement, it’s best to wait until you have healed from your injuries. This will allow you to total the medical costs associated with healing, as insurance companies are not likely to reopen the case in the future.
Be patient and wait until you have a complete picture of the economic damages you have suffered. This way your attorney can have a more accurate claim amount to require from a settlement.
Do not accept a settlement too quickly. We understand that medical costs are expensive, but holding out for a higher settlement will prevent you from going into debt. Caving too early may help cover some expenses, but will ultimately leave you with bills that aren’t your fault.
Do you have to accept an insurance settlement?
There is no requirement that you must accept an insurance settlement. Always speak to a car accident lawyer before accepting an insurance settlement offer, as they will be able to make an accurate determination of what is too low of an offer. They will not allow you to be bullied into accepting a sum less than your damages.
It is important to remember that the insurance company is not on your side. They are protecting themselves, even at the expense of your health.
The best way you can protect yourself is to hire an expert car accident attorney to represent your interests and get you maximum compensation. They know all the insurance companies’ tricks, so they won’t fall for any.
Call Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath today for a free no-obligation consultation to see how our team will put you first.