You have been injured in an accident. You file an insurance claim. Soon after, the insurance company offers a cash settlement. It’s tempting to take the initial offer, especially if you’re feeling pinched financially. You’re losing income due to your injuries, and you’re out of pocket for medical treatments. Quick cash would be a huge relief.
Should you accept the initial settlement offer from an insurance company?
Don’t Rush to Accept the Initial Offer
You should never accept an initial settlement offer until you are sure it includes fair and adequate compensation for your injuries and losses. All insurance adjusters and claims examiners work for the insurance company. They may seem friendly and helpful—especially early in the claims process—but make no mistake: their goal is to close your claim as quickly as possible, for as little money as possible. Plain and simple, the insurance company and its employees are looking out for what’s best for their business, not your best interests.
Why You Shouldn’t Accept an Initial Offer
There are many reasons why you shouldn’t accept an initial personal injury settlement offer from an insurance company. Chief among them is that the full extent of your injuries is not yet known when the offer is made. In the early stages of the claims process, you’re still seeing doctors, specialists, and treatment providers to diagnose and treat your injuries. You don’t know how the injuries will impact you in the long run. Will you be able to return to work? Will your injuries worsen? What future medical treatments will you need?
When you accept a settlement offer, you are required to sign a full and final release. That means you release the insurance company and at-fault party from all liability in the future, even if your injuries worsen, you find out you need surgery to repair accident-related damage, or you later realize your claim is worth more than you settled for. You may be stuck with a settlement that is a mere fraction of the full value of your claim.
See here for the key questions to ask yourself before accepting a personal injury settlement.
Another important reason to refuse an early settlement offer is to give yourself time to get legal advice. Insurance companies often try to settle claims early before you’ve had the chance to talk to a personal injury lawyer. They do this hoping you will accept a low-ball settlement offer (that is, one that does not represent the fair value of your claim). Some adjusters openly encourage accident victims to settle without talking to a lawyer, trying to convince the injured person that involving a lawyer will slow down the process or that legal fees will cut into their settlement money.
The reality is that a skilled personal injury lawyer can speed up the settlement process, help protect your rights and interests, and negotiate on your behalf to ensure that the settlement you receive is full and fair. An experienced personal injury lawyer will carefully review your case to determine all types of damages you are entitled to receive. Some of that financial compensation might be overlooked if you accept an offer without legal advice.
If you’re interested, here are some of the other top dos and don’ts of dealing with your insurance company from the personal injury lawyers at Feifel Gualazzi in Sault Ste. Marie.
Get Legal Advice Before Accepting Any Settlement Offer
The best way to determine if the settlement you’ve been offered is fair is to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer. We strongly believe that an injured person needs their own independent representation through a personal injury lawyer.
Having an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side will level the uneven playing field. We can closely review your case, evaluate the fairness of any settlement offer, and negotiate on your behalf to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Get Advice from a Local Trusted Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car, ATV, motorcycle, bicycle, or snowmobile accident, contact the personal injury lawyers at Feifel Gualazzi. We specialize in motor vehicle accident claims, and we’ll help you determine how much you are entitled to claim as compensation for your injuries and losses.
Insurance companies often want to rush through the process to get away with paying out as little as possible. Promptly seeking legal representation will ensure you understand the full picture and the options available to you.
Be sure you have a legal professional on your side. At Feifel Gualazzi, our personal injury lawyers will help you navigate the insurance process and get you the settlement you deserve. We serve residents of Sault Ste. Marie and the surrounding Algoma District.