5 Crucial Factors to Consider Before Accepting the Initial Insurance Settlement Offer
Insurance companies routinely undervalue accident victims’ claims and make lowball offers. This is because they want to protect their profits.
Rejecting the first settlement offer is vital in ensuring you receive fair compensation for your damages. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you avoid accepting the first settlement offer.
The Extent of Your Damages
When insurance companies calculate a settlement offer, they consider your medical bills, lost income, and other economic damages. However, a fair settlement will also consider general or non-economic damages, including pain and suffering, diminished quality of life, and disfigurement. You can find out more by reading this article.
These items are more challenging to prove than financial losses. Still, a qualified car accident lawyer will know how to value these intangibles and fight for them during negotiations or in court.
An experienced attorney will help you gather documentation to demonstrate the extent of your injuries and losses, including medical records, photographs, videos, and testimony. This will allow you to craft a demand letter that reflects the actual value of your claim. The insurance company will then be more likely to negotiate in good faith.
The Time Frame
The settlement timeline depends on many factors, including whether you agree to accept an insurance company’s initial offer and how long it takes to resolve through negotiations or filing a lawsuit. Ultimately, the settlement process can take a few months to a year.
It can also take time to know the extent of your injuries, including how they will impact future employment opportunities, activity levels, and quality of life. In addition, it can take time to determine how much long-term care or follow-up treatment you will need.
Insurance companies may attempt to stall the case until you reach your state’s statute of limitations, which could lead you to accept an unfairly low offer. An experienced car accident attorney can help you determine the timeline for your claim.
The Insurance Company’s Prior Practices
Many people who file an insurance claim after a collision may receive an initial settlement offer far below the amount they deserve. The insurance company’s goal is to save money, and often, they can do this by offering lowball offers and manipulating injured individuals into accepting them.
Some of these tactics include downplaying your injuries, undervaluing your losses, and implementing lousy faith insurance practices. Your attorney can help you combat these strategies and get the compensation you need and deserve.
Your lawyer will put together a counteroffer detailing all your loss-related expenses and your injury’s impact on your life. This counteroffer will serve as the starting point for negotiations and increase your chances of obtaining fair compensation that fully addresses your needs and losses.
The Insurance Company’s Prior History
As insurance companies began to develop, they specialized in specific types of coverage and industries. This was known as monoline insurance.
As a result, the initial offer from an insurance company can indicate what they think your claim is worth. It may be too low to provide sufficient compensation for your injuries.
Working with an experienced car accident attorney and rejecting the initial insurance settlement offer is essential. Almost all initial offers from insurance companies are lowball offers that don’t represent the actual value of a victim’s claims. Insurance adjusters work for a corporation whose bottom line is always the priority, so they will do everything possible to minimize their financial exposure in claims negotiations.
The Insurance Company’s Financial Strength
Despite their claims to be customer-centric, insurance companies are businesses that are trying to make money. It is less costly for them to settle disputed claims than to pay a jury award or go bankrupt.
Insurance companies generate income by investing in the premiums they collect. A fluctuation in interest rates or poor investment performance can impact the profitability resources on hand and negatively affect a company’s financial strength.
Several insurance rating agencies publish the financial strength ratings of insurance companies. Experienced experts rate these companies and typically offer their data free of charge. However, interpreting that data is complex and requires a degree of expertise. This data includes the quality of a company’s investments, which can be risky if invested in high-risk assets such as junk bonds.