Should You Accept an Insurance Company’s First Settlement Offer?
Suffering a personal injury could be traumatic, debilitating, and lead to a financial crisis. If an accident was caused by the negligent actions of another person, company, or entity, they should be held liable for any damages. Injured accident victims usually have two avenues to seek compensation: an insurance settlement or a personal injury lawsuit.
An insurance company will often offer an injured victim a settlement in hopes that they accept it before speaking with a lawyer. The last thing you want to do if you have been hurt due to another’s negligence is to accept an offer without consulting with our experienced Boston personal injury attorneys. Before agreeing to an amount, you need to know what your damages are. This is often impossible to calculate in the days following an injury.
When another person, company, or entity causes your injuries, you deserve to be adequately compensated. This means your financial award should cover your medical expenses, including any additional treatment you might require. You should also be compensated for any lost income, now and in the future. Before accepting any insurance settlement offer, call the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 925-6407 to value your claim and evaluate your case.
Is The Insurance Company’s First Offer Fair?
The quick answer is generally no. After a devasting injury or accident, many people are just looking to move forward. If they are offered a quick settlement, a large check could appear to be the financial windfall they need to put events behind them. Insurance companies are aware of this phenomenon and will often use it to their advantage. While an initial offer might appear reasonable, many people have no idea whether it is sufficient to cover the full scope of their damages.
When medical bills are piling up and you are missing weeks or months of work, agreeing to a fast settlement often looks like the best option. However, in many cases, filing a personal injury lawsuit could be the only way to seek the financial compensation you deserve.
Insurance companies are not in the business of paying out huge settlements. They employ adjusters, attorneys, and accountants for the sole purpose of limiting their liability. Sometimes an insurance provider will offer quick access to cash to avoid further responsibility in the future.
Agreeing to a Settlement Offer Releases the Insurance Company and the Negligent Party From Further Liability
Accepting the first offer from an insurer means more than just an increase in your bank account – it means you have released the insurer from further liability. Part of the acceptance process is signing a release form to waive your rights to pursue additional claims based on your injury. Therefore, if your injuries are more severe than you thought, you experience additional complications or are out of work longer than you expected, you are prohibited from seeking more compensation. You could quickly realize that your windfall was far less than you and your family required.
Our Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys Will Value Your Claim
To protect your economic stability, you should never accept an insurance company’s first offer following an accident or injury. Allowing our personal injury lawyers an opportunity to determine how much your claim is worth and the legal strength of your case will put you in a situation where you could make an informed decision on how to proceed.
If you have not reached the point of maximum medical improvement (MMI), you should not accept an offer. MMI is when you have reached a point where your condition is unable to improve. This could mean you have fully healed and are ready to return to life as normal. It could also mean you have reached a point where your condition will no longer improve. Understanding how your injury will impact your life going forward is critical in determining if an offer is adequate to cover your medical and financial expenses.
The First Offer is Part of the Negotiation
An insurance provider will offer a settlement hoping that an injured accident victim accepts it quickly. However, the initial offer is just the beginning of the negotiations. You are not required to accept the offer. Furthermore, declining an initial offer does not mean that the process is over.
You are entitled to propose a counter-offer. Our Cambridge personal injury attorneys are available to handle this process while you concentrate on taking care of your health. After valuing your claim, including your medical costs, lost income, and pain and suffering, our office will send a demand letter to the insurer with the counter-offer along with evidence to support the claim. If these back-and-forth negotiations do not result in a reasonable offer, you could pursue compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.
Personal Injury Lawsuits and Insurance Company Settlement Offers
Injured accident victims usually have two options: settlements or civil lawsuits. It is important to remember that one does not preclude the other. Filing a personal injury claim often lets the insurance company know you are serious about pursuing a fair settlement. Additionally, as a lawsuit proceeds, new evidence could come to light that further supports your claim. Insurance companies want to limit their liability, including not incurring the expenses associated with a costly and lengthy trial. An insurer will often base their offer on what is likely to occur in court. When the evidence mounts in your favor, a more reasonable offer could be forthcoming.
Speak With Our Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys Before Accepting an Insurance Settlement
There are pros and cons to settling a case early and pursuing a personal injury lawsuit. However, without speaking with our experienced Somerville personal injury lawyers, you will not know the advantages and disadvantages. You never want to accept an amount that will leave you and your family in financial distress in the future. To discuss the value of your claim, call (617) 925-6407 to speak with one of our attorneys at the Law Office of John J. Sheehan.