April 30, 2019 Category: Car Accident
Life can be stressful after an unexpected car accident. You’re forced to deal with injuries and figure out how to repair or replace a damaged vehicle. Accident-related costs will add up quickly. In fact, it’s common for a car accident to cost thousands of dollars. It’s easy to begin to stress about your financial situation.
Fortunately, you have the right to obtain compensation if someone else is to blame. Insurance is the primary source of compensation after an accident. If the other driver was insured at the time of the accident, you can recover money from their insurance company.
In some cases, the insurer will even approach you with a settlement offer right after an accident. Should you accept the offer? Are there any dangers in accepting an early offer? Who can you speak with before making such an important decision? These are all important questions to ask before you sign on the dotted line.
Insurance Companies Want to Minimize Payouts After an Accident
In an ideal world, an insurer would simply write a check to cover all of your accident-related expenses. However, insurance companies are in the business of making money. They wouldn’t make money if they simply paid every insurance claim in full. Instead, they routinely deny claims and/or extend low offers. It’s important to keep this in mind as you consider an insurance company’s settlement offer.
Initial Settlement Offers Are Usually Unreasonably Low
Have you been contacted by an insurance company after your accident? Have they offered to settle your claim before you’ve really had a chance to process the accident? If so, be cautious. If an insurance company knows that you have a solid case, they may try to get ahead of the situation and settle your claim before it gets out of hand.
Insurers know that the time after an accident is stressful. They know that you’ll be frustrated, hurt, and overwhelmed. They know that you’re probably facing significant financial hardships. The company knows that you’re probably eager to get your hands on money as soon as possible. They’ll try to use these things to their advantage and convince you to accept money right away.
The only problem is that the company’s offer is probably incredibly low. In most situations, it won’t be enough to cover all of your accident expenses. At this point, it’s tough to comprehend the extent of your injuries and how those injuries may affect you in the future. Accepting a settlement offer right after your accident could ultimately do more harm than good.
Accepting a Settlement Offer Can Waive Your Right to Additional Compensation
The insurance company will do whatever it can to manipulate you into accepting an early settlement offer. It may manipulate your emotions or threaten to pay nothing if you reject the offer. What they won’t mention, however, is that you’ll have to waive your right to pursue additional compensation in the future if you accept their offer. In order to accept the settlement, the company will likely require you to sign an accident release form. This essentially puts an end to your quest for compensation.
What happens if you realize that the settlement offer is not nearly enough to cover your accident-related costs? What if your injury is more severe than you thought and ultimately causes a disability? If you signed a waiver, you’ll be out of luck.
What Should I Do If I’m Contacted By an Insurance Company After an Accident?
It’s understandable to want money right away after your car accident. The financial stress created by the accident can be devastating. However, it’s important to understand that accepting an early settlement offer could make things worse down the line. It will take time to fully understand the extent of your injuries and how they’ll affect you.
Don’t engage with an insurance company unless you’ve spoken with an experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer. Your attorney will review your case and help you understand what it may be worth.
Rather than negotiating with the insurer yourself, let your attorney do the heavy lifting. Insurers are more likely to offer a fair settlement offer when you have legal representation. They know that their usual tricks and tactics won’t work.
Just because an insurer offers a settlement doesn’t mean that you have to accept it. You can submit a claim and back it up with evidence to support your demand for benefits. If negotiations aren’t successful, you always have the option of filing a personal injury lawsuit instead.