After a car accident, it is natural to want to settle your claim as soon as possible. Insurers are often eager to settle a claim as well. As tempting a settling early may be, there are reasons why you should not accept a settlement without consulting an attorney, especially if you have suffered serious injuries or a family member is killed.
Two reasons why you should not accept an initial settlement offer from an insurance company
An insurance company’s goal is to minimize its costs. After a serious or catastrophic auto accident, an insurance adjuster will often try to do this by getting the claim settled with a low initial offer. If the insurance adjuster has uncovered any history of a prior medical condition, the settlement offer may be further reduced.
Many people accept these lowball offers because they believe they will not be able to do better. They fear the insurance company will deny their claim altogether if they challenge the award. Others agree to settlements because they do not comprehend the true cost of their injuries or the loss of a loved one in a fatal car accident.
When you suffer a life-altering injury in an accident, such as a brain, burn or spinal cord injury, it may take some time to understand how the injury is likely to affect you. Treatment may require surgery, physical therapy and other care that could last for years. If the accident left you disabled, you may not be able to return to work. Before agreeing to any settlement, it is important to understand and document the full scope of your damages.
The importance of having an advocate on your side
The best way to obtain a fair settlement after a serious auto accident is to have an attorney on your side who can advocate for your interests. Insurance companies are less likely to make low offers to attorneys because they know that an experienced personal injury attorney will know what a claim is worth. A personal injury attorney will act as your advocate while you recover, fighting to help you obtain compensation that will cover your needs now and in the years to come.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertising.