What Should I Know Before Accepting the First Offer of an Insurance Settlement?
After being injured in a car accident that was not your fault, you will most likely receive a financial settlement offer from the other driver’s insurance company. The offer should financially cover all the physical and property damages that resulted from the accident.
Even though the first financial payment offer is tempting to accept, in many cases, it’s better not to. In some cases, accepting the first offer is the best option, but negotiating after the first offer means higher compensation.
The truth is, insurance companies want to settle as quickly as possible, and their goal is not to give you the best settlement.
Here are some factors you should consider before accepting an offer from the insurance company.
How Serious Your Injuries Are
The type of injuries you have directly affects the value of your claim. You should seek advice and medical assistance immediately from a doctor who can give written details about the injuries you suffered and the steps required for recovery so that they can be used as evidence in your claim.
Suppose you were in a minor accident resulting in bruising or soreness. A small settlement is a realistic offer, and if it covers your immediate needs, taking this offer might be the best decision for you. A higher payment will ensure you are compensated fairly. A fair settlement will cover current and future expenses and consider effects that have not yet been shown.
What Types of Damage Did You Suffer?
When it comes to a personal injury claim, you can suffer two types of damages: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are the ones that result from the financial losses you sustained as a result of your injuries and the accident. It can include costs to repair/replace your vehicle, losing your ability to make an income and various medical costs.
Non-economic damages can include both mental and physical harm. These include claims of pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, disfigurement, and more.
Not Accepting the First Offer
Insurance companies generally offer a low settlement at first. Like most businesses, they don’t want to give away money, which is their main priority when dealing with personal injury claims. However, you are always free to negotiate.
By deciding to not accept the first offer, it is then your turn to make a counteroffer. One thing to consider is that negotiating can sometimes become a long and stressful process, so having a personal injury lawyer work on your behalf is highly recommended. A lawyer knows what documents to gather, testimonies to get, and evidence to look for to get the compensation you deserve.
What Happens After the Counteroffer
Once you’ve made a counteroffer, the insurance company will either accept or not. If disagreement over the settlement continues, you will have the option of going to trial.
Most cases settle out of court, and at any point in negotiations, you can accept the insurance’s current offer.
If you have a lawyer helping you and a strong case, most insurance companies will try their best to avoid trial. Trust the advice of your lawyer. They know the compensation you are owed and whether you should settle out of court or go to trial. To file a lawsuit in South Carolina, the statute of limitations is 3 years according to S.C. Ann § 15-3-530, so you should consider this as you weigh your options and decide what is best for you.
If you’ve been in an accident or if someone you love has been hurt by another person’s negligence, a personal injury lawyer will provide expert legal advice and support as you navigate your claim and recovery. If you want to ensure you get the best settlement possible, a a compassionate lawyer with experience in both settling and winning at trial will be your best resource.