Accidents can throw a person’s life into chaos, especially severe ones. The aftermath of devastating injuries resulting from someone else’s negligence will include hospital and medical treatment bills as well as possible financial strain from being out of work. When you are injured in an accident and require medical treatment, the at-fault party’s insurance company may be quick to offer you compensation, many times even before you know the extent of your injuries, not to mention knowing what medical treatment will be required. With bills piling up, you may be tempted to accept the money initially offered.
It’s never recommended to take the first offer from the insurance company. However, negotiating a settlement with the insurance company will take work. It is vital to know that insurance companies are profit-driven organizations. They typically do not offer their best settlement right away as they are interested in managing their profit rather than maximizing payouts to victims of accidents. You don’t have to take the initial offer from the insurance company, and it is highly recommended to get advice and assistance from an experienced personal injury attorney before you do.
Why Do Insurance Companies Offer to Settle Early?
We all know that insurance companies are for-profit businesses but what many people don’t realize is that they are more interested in protecting their bottom line than providing fair compensation to an injured victim. Insurance companies often offer a low, initial settlement, hoping that the injured party will accept the offer barring them from any additional compensation. Many times, the insurance company will offer a lower settlement before the injured person knows the full extent of their injuries, required medical treatment, and the cost of getting back to their original condition. Presenting an early settlement is a strategy by the insurance company to protect their financial interests and reduce their potential liability.
This strategy takes advantage of the injured person’s vulnerable position and the uncertainty surrounding the full extent of their injuries and losses. We get many calls from people that accepted the initial offer to get advice if they can still recover compensation. It’s unfortunate, especially if the initial offer did not cover all of the medical bills and treatment needed. When a settlement is accepted, the insurance company has the injured party sign a release which prevents them from coming back and seeking additional funds. This is why it is extremely advised to get legal advice for an attorney well-versed in personal injury law before accepting an offer.
How to Deal with At Fault Driver’s Insurance Company
Dealing with an at-fault driver’s insurance company can be a challenging, drawn-out process. If you have been injured, it is highly recommended that you at the very least consult with a personal injury attorney before you contact the at-fault driver’s insurance. However, if you have not been injured or plan to attempt to negotiate with the insurance company on your own, here are key steps on how to deal with the at fault driver’s insurance company to help you get the compensation you deserve for your damages.
- Gather Information: Collect as much information as possible after the accident. This includes the at-fault driver’s insurance information, contact details, policy number, and any witnesses’ names and contact information. It’s important to take photos of the accident scene, your property damage, and if applicable, your injuries. If there is a police report provided, ensure you get a copy of that as well.
- Contact Your Insurance Company: Notify your insurance company about the accident, regardless of who is at fault. They need to be aware of the situation and might provide you with some guidance on your property damage claim.
- Don’t Admit Fault: When speaking with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, avoid admitting any fault, even if you think you might be partially responsible. It’s best to present only the facts and leave it to the insurance companies and authorities to establish responsibility. If you plan to file a personal injury claim, it is in your best interest to refrain from contacting the at-fault party’s insurance company and contact an injury attorney for guidance.
- Document Everything: Maintaining a comprehensive record of all interactions with the insurance company of the driver at fault is essential. This should include the date, time, name of the representative, and conversation details. Additionally, it is advisable to keep copies of any written communication.
- Consult an Attorney: If the accident resulted in injuries or substantial damages, it is highly advisable to contact a personal injury attorney. They can provide legal advice and help ensure that your rights are protected. Hiring an attorney to represent you for your bodily injury claim will take off all the pressure of negotiations with the insurance company and give you the option to take your case to court if needed.
What Happens After I Reject a Settlement Offer?
It’s normal to reject a settlement offer, especially if the initial offer is made before you know the extent of your injuries or treatment needed. Negotiations can still continue after rejecting a settlement offer. This decision safeguards your entitlement to full and fair compensation and empowers you or your attorney to continue to advocate for a settlement amount that covers your medical treatment, lost wages, and pain, suffering, and inconvenience. Once you decline the initial settlement offer, your attorney can act by sending a demand to the insurer. The demand letter and package will detail your damages and include an amount that is acceptable to compensate you for those damages. The insurance company typically will come back with a higher offer. Many times, your attorney will go back and forth to get the insurance company’s top offer and if that top offer is still not accepted, your attorney can file a lawsuit in hopes for a more satisfactory resolution for your injury claim.
If you have received a settlement offer or need clarification about what to do after being approached by the insurance company, contact us at Huffman & Huffman Brothers-in-Law. We have been helping people with injury claims for over 50 years, so we know what a fair settlement looks like. If you have questions or wish to obtain additional information regarding your legal options, contact our team today to receive a complimentary case evaluation. We are here to protect your rights.
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