A car accident can be an overwhelming experience. Not only must you deal with recovering from your injury, but you must also prove your damages to a car insurance company in order to receive compensation to cover your medical expenses, property damage, lost earnings if you are forced to miss work, and even pain and suffering from your injury.
In many cases, the insurance company will offer an initial settlement. While this may look quite appealing, especially if you’re currently paying for ongoing medical care while being away from work, you should always take a closer look at the first offer by the insurance company.
The following are several reasons you should decline the insurance company’s first settlement offer:
- The offer is low – The initial offer that an insurance company will make to an accident victim is often too low to cover basic medical bills and lost earnings. If it appears the claim is in your favor, the insurance adjuster will do their best to pay you as little money as possible in order to protect their bottom line.
- The adjuster workers for the insurance company – As soon as you file a car accident claim, an insurance adjuster will investigate the accident, calculate the value of your damages, and offer a settlement. However, since this person is working on behalf of the insurer, he/she will always have the best interests of the company in mind. They will look for certain factors to hold against you.
- You didn’t attempt to calculate the costs of the damage on your own – You should never rely on the insurance adjuster to calculate your damages. Rather, you and your lawyer should perform your own investigation to figure out the costs of your injury, property damage, and pain and suffering. Keep in mind, this may take months to determine all of your injuries and the required medical treatment in the present and future.
Once the insurance adjuster makes the first offer, it is within your legal right to make a counteroffer. The best way to make such an offer is to create a demand letter—with the help of your attorney—which presents who the accident occurred, who was to blame, what medical treatments you currently receive, your recovery timeline, and any other supporting evidence. You also include a dollar amount which you would be willing to accept to settle the case.
During negotiations, you and the insurance adjuster will attempt to come to an agreement. While you will argue for a higher settlement offer, the adjuster will try to lower it. Eventually, you and the adjuster will reach a final settlement amount which satisfies both parties.
To avoid being taken advantage of by insurance companies, having a skilled car accident attorney on your side can make a significant difference. A lawyer will protect your rights and best interests throughout the claims process to ensure you get the best settlement offer possible.
For more information, contact our Oklahoma City personal injury attorney at the Law Offices of Dan Davis and schedule a free consultation today.