If you were recently involved in a car accident and suffered damages and injuries, do you know how to negotiate a settlement offer with the insurance company? In order to successfully negotiate with the insurance company, you need to understand how they operate when it comes to settlements, as well as know the full value of your accident and injury claim. Here are some tips to help you understand the options available to you and when you should contact a trusted, knowledgeable attorney to help you navigate the process.
Knowing when to accept a settlement offer is not difficult – if you have the knowledge and experience dealing with personal injury claims. If dealing with insurance companies and medical providers is not something you do regularly, then perhaps now is the time to talk with someone who does! Take the next step to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Receiving an offer of settlement from the insurance company quickly after an accident can be a huge relief. The financial worries following a car accident are demanding and worrisome. The growing financial debt from property damage, auto repairs, medical providers, medications, missed work, and so many other unexpected expenses is stressful, to say the least. So, we understand how tempting it may be to accept the first settlement offer you receive. But you should never respond emotionally or accept a low offer just to relieve short-term financial struggles. If you are struggling with paying medical bills, we can often help you to delay payment until your case has been settled.
Before you accept a settlement offer, here are some things you should know and consider.
1. You should never accept a settlement offer until you have had a full evaluation of your health. Your injuries should be identified and there should be a solid treatment plan in place. In many cases you will not know the severity of your injuries, the treatments needed, and if you can expect to fully recover for quite some time. Before settling any auto accident claim, you should have a release from your doctors, or if your injuries are permanent, a permanent impairment rating.
2. You should have a very clear understanding of what your total damages’ claim is worth. Some you can easily assign a value to; these are called special damages or economic damages and include the cost of medical treatment, estimated future medical expenses, lost earnings, future lost earnings, property damage, and other out-of-pocket expenses.
There are two additional types of damages; both are subjective and take multiple variables into consideration when assigning a value to them. The first of this type are general damages or non-economic damages. They include damages such as pain and suffering, disfigurement, disability, emotional distress, loss of consortium (companionship of husband, wife, or partner), and loss of enjoyment of life. The second type are punitive damages and they are only applicable if it can be proven that the negligent party acted with intentional misconduct or gross negligence. Punitive damages are determined by the Court and are intended to punish the negligent party.
The complexity and duration of car accident settlement negotiations will depend on several factors, including the seriousness of your injuries and whether fault for the accident is clear. Estimating future expenses and losses is challenging, which makes determining the value of general damages rather difficult. Therefore, you should have a trusted attorney review your case and help you understand the compensation you deserve.
When the insurance company makes their first settlement offer, they frequently offer to settle for a much lower amount than the cost of your damages. And compensation for general damages, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and lower quality of life, are rarely not calculated into the first settlement offer. Insurance companies frequently offer to settle the claim very quickly after an accident for several reasons. They may not have sufficient information about your medical costs or property damage. Make sure you have thorough documentation that reflects all your losses. Insurance companies may also offer a low settlement offer because they do not believe you have a strong case because there are gaps in your medical treatments, or they believe the property damage was not severe. Keep in mind that the insurance adjuster’s job is to save his company as much as he can! He does not work for you. You need someone who does work and fight for you!
When the insurance company makes their first settlement offer, it can be less than the amount of your damages. Insurance companies frequently offer to settle the claim very quickly after an accident for several reasons. They may not have sufficient information about your medical costs or property damage. Make sure you have thorough documentation that reflects all your losses. Insurance companies may also offer a low settlement offer because they do not believe you have a strong case because there are gaps in your medical treatments, or they believe the property damage was not severe. Keep in mind that the insurance adjuster’s job is to save his company as much as he can! He does not work for you. You need someone who does work and fight for you!
Also, a condition of the settlement offer will be that you sign a Release of Liability. By signing the Release, you are agreeing that you will not sue the insured, their insurance company, and any other relevant parties; that the other parties have no further liability, and any future damages or losses are not recoverable. There is no renegotiating.
CONTACT A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY
At Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A., we listen to you and want to hear your story!
When you contact us, we will take the time to get to know you and understand all the ways your life has been affected by your accident. We pride ourselves on being empathetic, compassionate, and caring. This is just one of the reasons we are Florida’s top-rated personal injury attorneys – providing personalized legal advice addressed to meet your individual needs.
From the first call, you will know that we will be there with you, helping you to navigate through what can be a complex, difficult, and emotionally challenging time. We strive to provide you with all the information and resources you need. We are dedicated to making your life easier. From start to finish, we will promptly answer all your questions and provide the best legal advice, so you can make informed decisions about your future.
We build trust through open, timely communication, and straightforward legal advice. We are an award-winning, established personal injury law firm, fighting for our clients for over 60 years, and have recovered more than $145 million in awards. Contact us today and we will fight to get the results you deserve.