So you have claimed for personal injury after a car accident in which you were T-boned by a drunk driver.
Click here for an exciting foray into the most common types of car accidents.
You can expect the insurance company to come back to you with an offer of settlement.
If you accept their offer, it will not be possible to ask for more money should it turn out that the award was insufficient to cover your costs.
Let’s analyze why you should never accept the first offer made by the insurance company.
Diametrically Opposed Interests
You and the insurance company have competing interests. They aim to pay low, and you aim to be paid high.
They may represent to you that they have your best interests at heart. They may make sympathy noises about your injuries. They may wish you a speedy recovery and take an apparent interest in your well-being and recovery process.
Don’t be fooled. The aim is to pay you as little as possible.
You may be tempted to look at their offer and believe it looks reasonable to you. It never is. Don’t accept it. Advise the company that you have asked your lawyer to assess the offer, and they will be in touch.
Contact an experienced and specialized personal injury and attend a free consultation. Ask for an assessment of the offer. Inevitably you will be advised that the offer is way less than what you are entitled to.
Beware of early Communication with Insurance Companies
Soon after the accident, you will be contacted by the insurance company.
It is best not to discuss any elements of the accident with the insurance company.
Insurance companies are notorious for employing small talk to trap you into saying something they need you to say to reduce the claim.
Instead, advise the insurance company that you will be talking to your lawyer, who will then contact them.
This avoids your entrapment and sends a strong signal that you will not be a pushover and need to be taken seriously.
Maximizing Your Amount Claimed
Working out the amount to be claimed is one of the trickiest and most complex aspects of personal injury claims.
Your lawyer will include all past and future medical expenses. In addition, they will quantify amounts f
Had you accepted the first offer made to you, you would have lost out on many, if not most, of the claim amount. Experienced attorneys know what to include.
The Low-Ball First Offer Dance
There is an unspoken mating dance between insurance companies and law firms.
The first offer is inevitably rejected out of hand as all parties know that it is laughably low.
The initial offer is merely a shallow starting point.
From there, the parties heckle and negotiate based on the proof and evidence. Once the attorney feels that the offer is reasonable, it will be presented to you for acceptance or rejection.
At this point, you are free to accept or to insist that the matter goes to trial, in which case a jury will decide on what amount should be awarded if any.
The first offer will be a low-ball offer, and you should reject it, especially if you are unrepresented.
Appoint your lawyer and let them deal with the settlement process.
It will pay dividends in the long run.