On top of your injuries, you may be worried about your bills and any added expenses.
If an insurance company offers you a check right away, you may be overjoyed and feel great relief. After all, you probably thought you’d wind up in debt because of an accident someone else caused. You may have even thought it was easy to get this check, too, meaning you won’t have to negotiate.
But before you accept this offer, you need to know how much your claim is truly worth. The insurance company is hoping that you’re desperate or unfamiliar with the process so you’ll just take this amount. However, personal injury victims who have endured serious injuries should never jump at the first offer without having an attorney review it first.
Understanding the Motivation Behind the Insurance Company’s Offer
If you have a settlement check dangling before you, you should think it over before immediately accepting it. While it may seem like a relief to receive this amount, it’s likely much lower than the damages you’ve incurred from your accident.
Insurance companies know that people are swayed by money. If they offer you something quickly, chances are that you’ll take it without a second thought. Many people do this only to find out why it was a bad idea.
They’re looking out for their bottom line, but you should be looking out for yours, too. It’s a business that relies on profits to stay afloat. The larger the check, the less they get.
While it may seem like a lot to you, you’re missing out on the money you deserve. If you haven’t thoroughly gone through all your medical bills, found out what your ongoing and future medical treatments are like, tallied up your lost wages, or examined the less tangible impacts of the accident, the check simply isn’t enough. You’re much better off negotiating instead.
Why Insurance Companies May Offer Quick Settlements
Determining a settlement offer requires calculating several factors. Insurance companies may offer a low amount because they think you’ll accept it. Once you take this offer, you lose your right to negotiate.
In other cases, an adjuster simply may not have all the facts of your case. You will need to show your losses and injuries. Regardless, having a personal injury lawyer on your side can ensure you don’t settle for less. They will also negotiate on your behalf by presenting the relevant evidence to secure maximum compensation.
If the adjuster wasn’t aware of all the damages and then revised the settlement offer, that may be the end of it. Let an attorney take a look at your offer to have full peace of mind that you’re not settling for less than you need to put your life back in order after the accident.
Why Do So Many Injury Victims Take the First Check?
It’s easy to see why anyone injured in a serious car accident would take that first check. The entire ordeal is stressful and mentally taxing. As such, many people just want to put the whole thing behind them. They may have bills piling up and be out of work, and that money will surely help.
Some have negative perceptions about lawsuits. However, if you’re filing a personal injury lawsuit, you’re seeking what’s fair under the law. If you have an attorney calculate your economic and non-economic damages and they are greater than that check, don’t accept it.
Sadly, those who take the check without checking it out often see the additional costs arising from their medical treatments. If you have long-term damage that isn’t immediately apparent, taking the check means you can’t ask for compensation for the treatments you need.
Your initial settlement offer generally won’t include your hospitalization costs, surgery, specialized treatments, lost wages, physical therapy, long-term care, or pain and suffering. How will you know what’s fair then? You should work with a personal injury attorney to get help with injury claims and ensure the settlement you receive is fair.
Consulting with a lawyer in a free initial consultation can help you calculate the proper amount. Instead of just taking that check, think it over. For some people with minor injuries and damages, this check may be sufficient. However, those who have been in accidents that have left them with life-long injuries, disfiguration, and scarring should make sure they’ve taken everything into account.