Why to Reject the Initial Settlement Offer
Personal injury accidents and other negligence-caused injuries happen every day – from car accidents to slip and falls or medical malpractice. Subsequently, millions of personal injury claims are filed annually as claimants seek damages to cover medical expenses, pain and suffering, or property damage. When a claim is filed, the insurance company will call quickly to assess the situation, process the claim, and make an initial settlement offer to the victim.
Your response to this initial offer from the insurance company is the key determining factor in how much compensation you will ultimately receive.
Your Settlement is Final
If you have filed a personal injury claim after an accident, an experienced personal injury attorney can provide the assistance you need to evaluate the settlement offer you receive correctly. After all, it is in the insurance company’s best interest to settle the claim quickly – and for as little as possible. This is because once you accept an offer from the insurance company, the matter is closed – you cannot return later for more money, even if your injury persists.
Although the initial settlement offer may sound good to you, there are several compelling reasons why you should not accept it – especially without professional advice.
- SCOPE OF INJURY: It is difficult to truly understand the full extent of a medical prognosis within a few days or the first week. The doctors may not yet have determined the amount of medical treatment or therapy needed in the future – or if surgery will ultimately be necessary. Victims may not fully understand the long-term effects on their work or earning potential. This initial uncertainty makes it prudent to slow the process until relevant details are evaluated.
- KNOWLEDGE OF COMPARABLE PAYOUTS: The insurance company is aware that the average claimant does not know how much of a settlement is “fair.” Because their goal is getting you to agree to a settlement amount as quickly as possible – and before you understand what your damages could be – their initial offer is often far lower than your injury is typically worth. An experienced personal injury attorney will evaluate the case’s merits, examine the details and prognosis, and check your situation against previously settled cases to determine a fair settlement range.
- FINANCIAL URGENCY: The insurance company understands that an accident victim is often experiencing a financial crunch after an injury. They may be out of work, dealing with a pile of medical bills, and waiting to fix their car. People under stress are more likely to accept an offered payout quickly to relieve the pressure. An experienced personal injury lawyer understands that anxiety but also can explain why waiting a bit longer might be wise.
- DEMAND OF FAIR TREATMENT: Victims of accidents rarely take on an insurance company in court to get what they deserve. For that matter, they can feel intimidated even arguing with experienced negotiators about an offer. Hiring a personal injury attorney and rejecting the initial settlement offer informs the insurance company that you are not backing down until you receive a fair settlement. The insurance company is far more likely to provide a solid offer when they understand you have experienced legal representation.
- HIGHER SETTLEMENT AMOUNTS: According to the Insurance Research Council, those who file personal injury claims via a personal injury attorney (rather than accepting the initial offer) receive settlement offers up to 40% higher on average.
Speak to an Attorney Before Accepting the Initial Settlement Offer
Remember, once an initial settlement offer is accepted and paid to the claimant, there is no recourse to return and demand more. Retaining a Sarasota or Tampa personal injury law firm ensures you won’t be taken advantage of by the insurance company.
Call Hale Law today to learn more about getting the compensation you deserve.