Being involved in an accident is traumatic. And for those who are injured, the aftermath can be just as bad. Victims often find themselves juggling the technical aspects of legal claims and police reports while they are attempting to rest and recuperate. During this stressful time, insurance companies frequently make a settlement offer, and exhausted victims can be tempted to accept the sum, just so they can be done with the whole experience. But be forewarned: while an initial settlement offer can be alluring, it rarely amounts to what the victim truly deserves.
If you have been the victim of an accident, the extent of your injuries and property damage may be worse than you realize. You may require more money than you think to cover all your current and future accident-related expenses, which is why you should resist the urge to take whatever is offered to you upfront by the insurance company. Instead, explore all your options before signing on the dotted line. Doing diligence early on can save you from financial headaches and ensure you receive what you deserve down the road. Here’s why the first settlement offer that comes your way probably isn’t your best bet.
You Might Have More Medical Costs than You Realize
Victims are especially vulnerable right after an accident, which is when insurance companies typically send their initial settlement offers. Proposed payouts often come when victims are in the middle of medical treatment – a stage when even doctors aren’t sure how long it might take their patient to recover, or to what extent that person will need to be treated. If you’ve been hurt in an accident, be wary of accepting a settlement offer before having a clear picture of the full care plan that will be needed. Speak with your doctor about any delayed onset symptoms or aftereffects of your injuries. Predicting the future might be impossible but preparing for it is not.
Remember, at the early stage, insurers and their adjustors may try to hustle you to sign. If you’re feeling rushed or pressured, call an attorney to ask for help. With representation, you can eliminate direct contact with the insurer and avoid stressful pressure tactics while you’re in recovery.
The Offer Might Debase Your Case
Some insurers might attempt to devalue or delegitimize a victim’s case by claiming the victim was negligent, partially responsible or is exaggerating the injuries that occurred. Denying a claim or insinuating that a victim’s health issues aren’t related to the accident that occurred allows insurance companies to lowball offers more effectively. If the figure on your claim seems low, ask to see the math. Seeing the explicit breakdowns of the injuries and costs that the insurer included and approved for compensation can help you advocate for a fairer sum and legitimize your claim using your medical bills as evidence.
The Adjustor Might Try to Scare You Off by Claiming Authority
Sometimes when a victim is actively pursuing a higher settlement or has asked the insurance adjustor for clarifying information, the adjustor may insinuate that they are the final authority on the claim amount. This is a common negotiation tactic that pressures victims and deflects legitimate pushback. It’s important for accident victims to remember that they always have the right to counter the adjustor. If you are presented with an amount that seems inadequate or even unsupported, you can send a letter detailing why you think the settlement is too low, which can help you establish a good basis for a new and better offer.
Bottom Line: Know Your Worth
A check in hand when you’re coping with painful injuries and financial stress can seem like a lifesaver in the moment. But if you’ve been seriously injured in an accident, blindly accepting the first settlement you’re offered can come back to bite you in the long run. While it can be challenging to defend yourself against an insurance company, it’s worth advocating for the funds you’ll need to repair or replace your damaged property and take care of yourself, so you can make a full recovery. You owe it to yourself to conduct a thorough assessment of your situation and consider all your support options, which include pursuing legal funding and/or seeking counsel from a personal injury lawyer.
Let Cartiga help drive your legal success story. Visit Cartiga.com to learn more.