After a car accident, parties typically file a claim with insurance and receive a settlement offer. However, it is crucial to know you do not need to accept this offer if it is less than you deserve.
Before you accept the first offer from an insurance company, there are some important things to consider first.
Four factors to consider
You may not know exactly what your claim is worth, but some factors can help you assess the fairness of an offer.
- Have you fully recovered? If you were hurt in the accident, take stock of how you are feeling. Talk to your doctors about the prognosis and what you might expect in the future. If your condition is likely to persist or get worse, your medical bills can continue to increase. And an early offer from insurance may not reflect those expenses.
- Was the crash severe or traumatic? When accidents are serious, the toll they can take on individuals can be immeasurable. Parties can experience emotional distress, depression and losses that an insurance settlement likely will not acknowledge.
- What caused the accident? Crashes happen for countless reasons, from minor lapses in judgment to intentionally dangerous behaviors. If you suspect recklessness or negligence played a role in a collision, they could skew an insurance settlement.
- Are there specific, unique ways the accident will affect your life? An insurance settlement may not reflect circumstances unique to your case. For instance, they may make the same offer to someone, whether the victim is a professional athlete or a nursing home resident, regardless of how an injury will specifically affect their health, future earning potential and lifestyle.
Thinking about these elements before making any decisions or concessions regarding money after a crash can be crucial, as can discussing your case with an attorney.
Seeking the compensation you deserve
Whether you ultimately accept a settlement or not, know that you have the right to review the offer and negotiate. If an insurance company is unwilling to make the necessary adjustments, you can take the case to court.
It can be tempting to accept whatever money insurance offers and just put the crash behind you. However, stopping to consider whether it is fair and fully reflects the damages caused by the accident can be crucial in collecting what you deserve.