Should You Accept an Insurance Settlement Offer?Posted on: October 20, 2021
The insurance company said, “Take it or leave it!”
But should you accept their settlement offer?
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, slip & fall, or other liability claim, you’re probably sick and tired of dealing with seemingly endless doctor’s appointments, paperwork, and insurance negotiations.
You just want this nightmare to be over!
Which makes it so tempting when the insurance company finally comes back with a settlement offer. But wait…is the amount fair? Will it be enough to last the full length of your recovery?
Once you accept a settlement, you cannot go back and ask for more, so this is a situation that should be given serious consideration.
What Is the Point of a Settlement Offer?
Before you even think about accepting, we should take a few moments to talk about what your settlement offer is designed to do.
If you have been injured as a result of another’s negligence, you have probably experienced some financial, emotional, and psychological consequences as a result. Your injury settlement should compensate you for the full spectrum of your suffering.
Your settlement offer should be enough to cover your…
- Past and future medical bills;
- Pain and suffering;
- Loss of enjoyment of life;
- Lost wages; and
- Loss of earning capacity.
However, as you’ll soon see, the insurance company’s first offer rarely meets these requirements.
Your Insurance Company Doesn’t Care About You
It sounds harsh, but it’s true.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re going after your own insurance company or that of a third party; insurance companies are just like any other business—they are looking out for their interests first, not yours.
In our experience, insurance carriers will do whatever they can to avoid paying the full value of an accident claim. Nine times out of ten, their first settlement offer is laughably low. This occurs even when attorneys are involved.
You didn’t choose to get into a car accident because you were excited about a future payout. You were a victim of another’s negligence. So why should the insurance company victimize you again by undervaluing your claim?
“But This Settlement Offer Seems Huge!”
At first glance, even though it is not enough, you may think it is okay. It may be enough to cover the medical bills you’ve accrued thus far. Is there any reason not to accept it?
Remember, insurance companies are always looking out for their own best interests. (We’ve seen it time and time again; we used to work for their side!)
Think about it, have you ever had a car salesman actually start out with their lowest possible offer? No! They start with a price that benefits them and the two of you negotiate until you arrive at a price that seems fair to both of you.
Settlement offers are just the start of negotiations. And without an experienced attorney on your side, you will never know how much your claim is really worth.
You Need An Attorney!
It is difficult for a lawyer to give blanket advice that’s true for everyone, but in this circumstance, we can: Please discuss your case with a personal injury attorney before you accept ANY settlement offer!
Personal injury attorneys can use their experience and knowledge to advise you on the actual value of your claim and what you deserve. It might be more than you think!
Not only is an attorney’s advice guided by expertise, it’s also tailored to your unique situation.
In the world of personal injury law, injuries aren’t always enough to determine the full monetary value of your case. Your lawyer will also factor in things like your insurance coverage, comparative negligence (i.e. how much your own actions contributed to the accident), and how likely you are to succeed at a trial.
A Real Life Example
Recently, one of our clients was offered $4,000 from his insurance company as compensation for a back injury. He can no longer sit on the floor to play with his kids nor spend as much time on his feet as he could before the accident.
As a result of these injuries, this client—let’s call him Justin—will have to visit a specialist every month for the rest of his life. Four thousand dollars is hardly enough to compensate for this! Thankfully, with our help, Justin was finally able to receive over ten times the previous offer in his final settlement.
Without an attorney, he would never have known what his claim was worth!
Never Accept the First Settlement Offer!
Sure, that settlement offer may seem generous, but there are things that make your claim worth more than that…things the insurance company doesn’t want you to know. And the only way to be sure that your settlement offer is fair is to consult with an attorney.
At Beers & Gordon, our attorneys have experience working on personal injury cases for both the plaintiff and the defendant. We know what tactics the insurance company is going to use and how to help you get the compensation you deserve. We worked on their side for over 40 years combined. We not only know how they think, we know how they evaluate a case.
While the majority of personal injury cases do end in a settlement, that isn’t the case for all of them. It is vitally important for your settlement to have the insurance company know you have counsel and one that is ready, willing, and capable of taking it to trial. Without that threat of litigation, your settlement will likely be lower. In the event your case proceeds to a trial, you can rest assured that our firm is best equipped to handle your needs.
Even if you haven’t worked with an attorney thus far, please give us a call if you have received a settlement offer from the insurance company. We are happy to learn more about your case and advise you so that you get the best outcome possible.