The process of an accident claim is complicated and can be extremely overwhelming for the victims who are still recovering from the incident. As medical bills pile up while you are unable to work due to your injuries, the insurance company is likely going to offer some compensation, so you release them from liability.
Before you accept the settlement, though, it is important to speak to an attorney and consider some important factors.
Our licensed auto collision lawyers in Fort Worth are prepared to review your claim, and the offer made by the insurance company. We offer a free consultation to see what the best course of action in your situation may be. There are no upfront fees, and you only pay us if we recover compensation for you.
Is the Offer Reasonable?
The first settlement offer from the insurance company is generally not reasonable because it rarely accounts for the full value of a case. The insurance company is not going to consider how much your economic and non-economic damages are worth. All they care about is getting you to accept some low-ball offer, so you release them from further liability.
A reasonable offer would be one that fully covers all your damages, including things like medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage. If the insurance company contacts you to offer a settlement only a few days after the accident, you most likely do not even know the extent of your damages yourself. How would the insurance adjuster know how much compensation to provide to you?
Do You Know What Your Future Expenses Will Be?
Many accident victims might suffer long-term injuries that will require present and future medical care. Even injuries that are considered relatively minor, like a herniated disc, could require long-term treatment to reduce pain and improve movement. These future medical expenses should be part of the compensation you are being offered by the insurance company.
It is also important to consider other future expenses/damages you may incur due to the accident. For example, your ability to continue working in your current occupation due to injury restrictions. If you must leave your job and take a job that pays you less, the settlement offer should take loss of earning capacity into account.
Another future expense to consider is whether the re-sale value of your repaired vehicle is diminished because it now has an accident on its Carfax report.
Does the Offer Include Non-Economic Damages?
Injury victims have the right to pursue compensation for pain and suffering from the at-fault party. If the insurance company does not offer compensation for these non-economic damages, you should not accept the offer because it is not covering all the damages you may be eligible for.
Putting a price on someone’s physical and emotional anguish is difficult because no two people may experience the same pain level for similar injuries. This is how insurance companies often try to argue against paying for non-economic damages or offering compensation that does not meet the accident victim’s needs.
Until you know what your pain and suffering may be worth, it is best not to accept a settlement offer from the insurance company.
Do You Think Your Case Will Hold Up in Court?
The point of accepting a settlement offer is to avoid the courtroom and the process of filing a lawsuit. However, it is important to think about how well your case would stand up in court because you might have to file suit if the insurance company refuses to negotiate or outright denies liability.
The strength of your claim comes down to whether you can prove you were owed a duty of care and the breach of that duty directly resulted in your damages. If you think you cannot prove this in court, then it might be a good idea to accept a settlement. However, if you have a strong case with plenty of evidence backing your claim, you might want to reconsider accepting a lowball offer because you might be able to recover full compensation if you file a lawsuit.
Remember that most cases are settled out of court, even if a lawsuit is filed, because the insurance company wants to avoid the added expenses and unnecessary risk of going to court. Once you file a lawsuit, the insurance company is most likely going to make a reasonable offer.
Have You Spoken to an Attorney? Call Us Today
Before you accept a settlement offer from the insurance company, you should speak to an attorney who may be able to determine how much your case is worth. That includes past, present and future expenses, pain and suffering, and all damages associated with the accident.
An attorney can investigate the accident and build a strong case that can hold up in court if the insurance company refuses to negotiate.
Let our experienced attorneys help you through this process.
Call (817) 920-9000 to schedule a free consultation.