HHJ Trial Attorneys

San Diego Car Accidents & Injury Lawyers

Should I Accept a Settlement Offer from the Insurance Company?

You’ve been in an accident and injured. The other party involved is liable, so you file a claim with their insurance company. When the first settlement offer comes your way, what should you do? Let’s discuss whether you should accept the first settlement offer from an insurance company!

Why Shouldn’t I Accept the First Settlement Offer?

Generally it is recommended you do not accept the first settlement offer made by an insurance company. Quick settlement offers from an insurance company are often seen as a red flag. This is because insurance companies will usually send out lowball offers in the very beginning. 

The insurance company wants to pay as little out for your personal injury claim as possible. California law gives insurance companies 15 days to respond to a claim, so oftentimes the claim adjusters will send a quick lowball offer hoping it will be accepted by the person filing the claim. 

There are a few things to take into consideration on why you shouldn’t accept the settlement offer yet. 

Medical Treatments and Other Expenses May Be Higher

As previously mentioned, your medical treatments and other expenses are probably higher than the insurance settlement offer. If you were injured due to another negligent party, why should you pay out of pocket? You want to make sure the compensation is fair and covers the expenses of medical treatments, future care, and any repairs on your vehicle or other property. 

Injuries May Be More Serious Than Initially Considered

Some injuries are severe and long term. When the settlement offer is made, you may still be getting your injuries reviewed and treated. What may seem like a smaller injury may actually be more serious. It is important to get the proper diagnostics for your injuries before settling on a compensation offer.

Knowing the value of your claim is key. This can help you avoid paying for accident expenses out of your own wallet.  

How Can I Know the Value of My Case?

Though you can not always pinpoint the exact amount of your case, there are factors that can help. Consider the various expenses such as: 

  • Medical treatments 
  • Vehicle repairs
  • Alternate transportation 
  • Future medical treatments and care
  • Loss of wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental health treatment
  • Emotional and psychological injuries
  • Loss of enjoyment

These are just a few of the factors to look at when it comes to determining the value of your claim. Some expenses are physical. Others involve your emotional and mental welfare. It will help to sit down and talk to a personal injury lawyer in order to determine what could possibly be a fair compensation amount. 

If I Accepted a Settlement Offer, Can I Still Negotiate? 

One of the main reasons why you shouldn’t accept a settlement offer is because the offer is binding. Once you have accepted an offer from an insurance company, your case is closed and cannot be reopened. You can no longer renegotiate an offer or ask for more money. 

Even if your injuries are more extensive than previously thought, or further consequences as a result of the accident arise, you can no longer attempt to obtain a higher compensation amount. This means you may be stuck paying for damages on your own.

However, some settlement offers may be ok to accept. It is not always the case, but can happen. Speak to a personal injury attorney beforehand of course. If you were ever advised by an attorney to accept a settlement offer from an insurance company, it would be because:

  • The insurance company is accepting total liability for your claim
  • You’ve recovered fully from injury
  • The offer fully compensates for all the damages
  • There are no permanent injuries that would require future care
  • After looking at the facts of your case, this amount is the highest offer

Of course, it would be through the advice of a legal expert that you could accept a settlement offer with ease. 

What Can Help Raise My Compensation Amount?

You are completely entitled to reject the settlement offer of an insurance company. This does not completely bar you from receiving compensation. Having strong evidence to support your case and prove the other party’s liability helps support your claim and compensation.

Be sure to save all documentation of your medical treatments, diagnostic tests, repair estimates if needed, and other relevant details that highlight damages on your part. This can help with the value of your case. 

Of course, one of the top ways to receive a higher settlement offer from an insurance company is to have the representation of a personal injury lawyer. Insurance companies typically deal more fairly with personal injury lawyers. This is to avoid a lawsuit in court. Most insurance companies would rather make a higher settlement offer than go to court, especially if your claim is very strong. 

The personal injury attorney representing you can prepare a demand letter for your injury claim. Because personal injury attorneys have the experience of dealing with insurance companies, they will know exactly what to say and what evidence to present. Your personal injury lawyer will be working in your best interests, so more than likely you will be offered a higher compensation amount. If you are on the road to recovery, let a personal injury attorney take on the negotiation process for you. 

Is There Anything I Shouldn’t Do to Harm My Claim? 

When it comes to a personal injury claim, there are a few things you should refrain from doing to ensure you are in good standing for negotiation

  • Don’t admit fault at the scene of the accident or while speaking to a claims adjuster
  • Don’t overshare details to the insurance company. Simply answer their questions directly and to the point. 
  • Don’t delay medical treatment. Attending to your injuries can provide you with stronger evidence and proof of injury for your claim. 

And of course, don’t accept the first settlement offer that comes your way from an insurance company. Because personal injury claims can be a fairly delicate matter, you’ll want to be as confident in your standing as possible. Working with a personal injury attorney can provide you with legal expertise and reassurance that your claim is in the right hands. 

When Should I Talk to a Personal Injury Attorney? 

Generally, you do not want to accept a settlement offer from an insurance company without talking to a personal injury attorney. Because settlement offers are usually low and unfair for many injured individuals, you’ll most likely be going into a negotiation process. Having a personal injury attorney by your side can make insurance companies more open and willing to provide higher offers. 

Don’t pay for the injuries and damages caused by another person’s negligence out of your own pocket. Because insurance companies work in their best interests, you should be prepared for negotiation. If insurance companies are not willing to negotiate, deny your claim, or want to place liability on you, a lawsuit will sometimes be necessary.

Interested in speaking to a personal injury attorney about your case? Get the right legal representation for your claim. Sit down with a San Diego personal injury attorney now.

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