Do I Need a Lawyer if the Insurance Company Offered Me a Settlement?
An insurance company’s initial settlement offer is always low. Insurance adjusters know that many car accident victims have no idea of a fair settlement amount– and may think the offer is reasonable. You need legal advice after suffering serious injuries resulting in a long recuperation and time lost from work. Early in the healing process, you do not know how much more medical treatment you’ll need, or whether you can return to work.
Keep in mind that the insurance adjuster never works in your best interests. They know how vulnerable people are after a car accident. The adjuster also wants to settle claims as quickly as possible. Again, that benefits the insurance company, not you. A quick settlement can leave you struggling financially.
A car accident lawyer in New York at Douglas and London will work in your best interests and help you receive the maximum compensation for your injuries. Insurance companies know that we are as well-versed in insurance law– as their own attorneys and realize they must make suitable settlement offers. We have helped clients receive millions in restitution.
Not the last offer
That initial lowball offer is not the insurance company’s last offer, at least if you have legal counsel. After obtaining a lawyer, they will draft a demand letter to the insurance company. This document includes:
- Car accident description
- Why the other driver is at-fault
- Vehicle damage and repair costs
- Your medical treatment to date
- Costs of medical treatment to date
- Whether you can return to your job
- All economic losses experienced from the crash
- Impact of the accident on your life.
The impact of the accident may include your emotional distress and pain and suffering. Medical treatment lost wages, and other economic losses– such as the cost of a rental car or other transportation—are easy to calculate. The non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering, are more subjective.
In fact, pain and suffering are rarely a consideration in an insurance company’s first offer. It is up to your attorney to convey to them the depth of your psychological and physical pain, and the ongoing repercussions from the accident. The demand letter also includes the amount you might accept as a settlement. It is based on your lawyer’s knowledge of what is fair.
Wait until healing
Before accepting a settlement offer, it is critical to wait until you are completely healed. Accepting a settlement before full recovery means you could still require substantial medical treatment, and those amounts would not be covered. Once a settlement is negotiated and accepted, the insurance company is off the hook for further payments.
A lawyer is familiar with the types of injuries you are dealing with and has a good grasp of your future medical needs, including any special equipment or necessary housing and vehicle modification.
In New York, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit is three years, so most seriously injured people will have recovered or reached maximum recovery during that period. However, if the other vehicle in the crash belongs to any form of government agency, that window is much shorter, at just six months. It is wise to contact a lawyer for representation sooner rather than later, no matter the circumstances.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in New York
If you were seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident, you need the services of the dedicated car accident attorneys at Douglas and London. Call us today or contact us online to arrange a free consultation.
We will negotiate aggressively with the insurance company so that you receive a fair settlement. Most cases are settled, but if going to trial is necessary, we do not hesitate. Since we work on a contingency basis, there are no fees unless we win. Hablamos Español.