Personal injury accidents can be debilitating and traumatic. If you have been injured in an accident, you have most likely thought about filing a personal injury claim. And once you file your claim, you will soon be dealing with the other party’s insurance company. To determine the amount of your settlement, the insurance company will ask any questions they have—and will most likely offer you too little.
Because car accidents and other personal injury cases are extremely stressful and often time-consuming, it can be tempting to accept the first offer just to get it over with. However, you have a lot to gain by taking your time and thinking about the best options available to you. Read on to understand whether you should accept the insurance company’s first offer, and what you can do to ensure you get the fair compensation you deserve.
Should You Accept the First Offer?
To put it bluntly, no. You should not accept the insurance company’s first settlement offer. Why? Because the amount of money you are awarded in your settlement is extremely important—not just for covering your current medical bills, but also for helping you get back on your feet. Your costs may include medical bills, missed wages, vehicle repairs, and other losses incurred by an accident. And in some cases, people experience pain from injuries years after they occurred.
With these factors in mind, it’s imperative that you take the insurance company’s settlement offer very seriously and consider all factors before making a final decision. You should not only consult with your friends and family members, but also with an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Why You Should Not Accept the Initial Offer
Imagine the following scenario: You’re in bed recovering from a car accident that was not your fault. This accident and the resulting doctor visits have caused you to miss several days of work. You receive a call from the other driver’s insurance company. They are prepared to offer you $2,500 as settlement. If you sign the papers right away, you can receive the money tomorrow.
This situation might sound ideal, but it’s not. The company’s initial offer is much lower than you deserve for your medical bills, time off work, and pain and suffering. In the short run, you could really benefit from the money they are offering. But if you go ahead and accept the offer, you could be cheating yourself out of thousands of dollars in the long run.
One of the biggest goals an insurance company has is to pay you as little money as possible. That may seem unethical, but it’s how insurance companies stay in business. Insurance companies will try to lowball you to make sure they save their own company money. The agent probably knows that your injuries are worth around $15,000, but they offer a much lower number to give themselves room for negotiation. In all likelihood, their initial offer is the lowest possible offer.
In many cases, there is more money available to you. Considering the amount of stress personal injury clients are already going through, they might be tempted to take the first offer, but they shouldn’t—and they don’t have to.
Can an Insurance Company Revoke an Offer?
Personal injury clients are often tempted to accept an insurance company’s first offer because they are afraid that if they don’t, the offer will be decreased or even taken off the table altogether. This scenario is technically possible, but it is extremely unlikely.
Car accidents and other personal injury cases can be extremely complicated, and the settlement amount will depend on a variety of factors, such as who is at fault and the severity of your injuries. An insurance company’s initial offer is, in most cases, their way of kicking off a settlement negotiation. They most likely expect you or your attorney to counter offer or enter the negotiation stage.
When to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
If you are dealing with insurance settlements, you are most likely already suffering from physical injuries or vehicle damage. These things are stressful enough on their own. The last thing you want to do is take on additional stress by attempting to navigate the legal world and negotiate with insurance agents.
Sometimes it only makes sense to let a personal injury attorney handle the situation. You may want to play hard ball with the insurance company, but only an experienced attorney knows when it’s appropriate to do so. A personal injury lawyer will use their expertise to judge the situation and take steps to ensure you get fair compensation. Your attorney will be able to help you make the decision whether to accept the first offer, and will present the pros and cons of accepting or rejecting it.
Being injured in an accident caused by another person’s negligence can be overwhelming. At Shook & Stone, our Nevada personal injury attorneys have more than 85 years of combined legal experience, making them the perfect choice for your insurance settlement negotiations. Shook & Stone will fight to ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries, and that your case is quickly resolved.
Contact Shook & Stone today for your free case consultation, and to see how a personal injury lawyer can help you get the insurance settlement you deserve.