When you’ve suffered an accidental injury through no fault of your own, you are likely going to be offered a settlement from the other party’s insurance company. However, you may not know if the settlement offer is appropriate or fair, which is why you need to hire accident injury lawyers who have experience in determining acceptable compensation for their clients.
Accident Injury Lawyers: How Do You Know If You Get a Good Settlement Offer?
Is It the First Offer?
Many times, the first settlement offer from an insurance company is not the best deal you can get. Remember that the insurance company isn’t on your side and will attempt to pay out as little as possible. Of course, turning down any offer carries some risk, because you may not get another offer. However, generally, your attorney will provide a counter-offer that is going to be fairer for you. Then, they’ll continue negotiating on your behalf until both sides agree.
Even if you don’t intend to hire an accident injury attorney for the entirety of your case, it’s a good idea to hire one to look over an initial settlement offer. They will examine your case and determine if the offer is acceptable or if you deserve additional compensation. Unless you’re experienced in determining how much accidental injury cases are worth, you’re not going to know if what the insurance company is offering is fair to you.
Is the Other Party Clearly at Fault?
If the other party is clearly at fault for your injuries, a settlement may not be the best option. This is because the insurance company is trying to pay as little as possible, even if they know their client is at fault. It may be to your benefit to decline a settlement offer and continue toward litigation where you may end up with an even higher settlement offer or a jury award, even though this is a gamble.
An accident injury attorney will advise you on whether they believe the gamble is worth declining the offer, and they’ll only advise you to decline it if they think you are entitled to more compensation. When your injuries are clearly the fault of the other party, you have a much better chance of winning your case in court, if it goes that far. The insurance company knows this and will continue offering higher settlement amounts as court becomes more likely.
Is More Than One Party at Fault?
When more than two parties are involved in an accident, determining who bears what percentage of fault, settlements can be tricky. Usually, these settlements will take longer to finalize and an accident attorney may need to be involved to ensure your interests are protected. Typically, the insurance company will determine how much it’s going to pay overall and it will be split up based on a percentage of fault; however, this can cause you to receive less than you deserve.
In a case where multiple parties are at fault, you may have to negotiate with the insurance company and the other parties. This can become very complicated, very quickly, and if you’re not skilled at negotiation, you could end up with less money than you need to cover current and future expenses. Whenever there is more than one party involved in an accident, it’s recommended you have an attorney to ensure your rights are protected.
What Is Your Financial Need?
It may be unfair, but if your financial need is great, and you’re struggling to pay your medical bills due to your accident, the insurance company knows you’ll probably accept a lower-than-acceptable settlement offer. The insurer may even delay offering a settlement in the first place, knowing you’ll become more desperate to accept any amount the longer you go without being able to cover your bills. It’s not very ethical, but insurance companies are trying to protect their bottom line.
However, if you retain the services of an attorney, the insurance company will know that you’re not desperate to pay your bills because your attorney will be covering those for you until you receive a settlement. They’ll know that both you and your attorney are willing to wait them out to get the compensation you deserve. As a result, you will probably get a higher settlement offer than if you’re trying to negotiate on your own.
What Are Your Actual Losses?
Determining how much you’ve actually lost as a result of your injuries is critical to knowing whether you’ve received a fair offer. Many victims agree to a settlement that will only cover their medical bills that have already been incurred, but they fail to take into account that they could have future medical bills that are the result of the accident or that they have lost wages at least during their recovery time and possibly permanently.
You want to make sure that the settlement you receive is going to cover you for any current or future financial needs that arise due to your injuries. This amount is not easy to calculate, but if you hire an attorney, you’ll have access to financial experts who can calculate your actual financial losses. Not only that, in some jurisdictions, you may be able to receive compensation for pain and suffering, which many victims fail to claim on their own.
Can the Insurance Company Justify a Low Offer?
If you receive an offer from the insurance company that is much lower than you expected, ask the company to provide an explanation for why the offer is so low. Often, their offer is just a negotiating tactic to see if you’ll take less than what your case is worth. When you push back a little, you’re likely to get a higher offer, even if it’s not exactly what you requested in your demand letter.
If the insurance company can justify its low offer and provides salient reasoning behind the lower settlement, you should respond to each factor in writing to show that the offer is still less than reasonable. Often, it takes a response letter from an attorney to get an insurance company to budge off a low settlement that it believes is reasonable, but it is possible to receive a higher offer even if the insurance company is reluctant to pay more.
Have You Been Patient?
Patience is necessary when negotiating a good settlement. Jumping on the first offer is never a good idea, but it’s also not always beneficial to accept the second or even third offer. Coming to terms with the insurance company can take a long time, which is why many victims end up settling for less than their claim is worth. They get tired of the process and just want it to end, but this is what the insurer hopes will happen.
Having an attorney at your side during the negotiation process can help you remain patient. You’ll be able to afford your medical bills while your attorney negotiates on your behalf. Usually, having an attorney involved will accelerate the settlement process because the insurance company knows it’s not going to get away with low offers, but even if it takes a while, you’re more likely to get what you deserve as well.
The truth is, you won’t really know if you’ve received a good settlement offer unless you have an experienced accident attorney examine your case and the offer. Contact Yonke Law LLC today to find out what your personal injury case is really worth.