Should I Accept My Insurance Company’s First Offer?
After a serious car accident, if you cannot work, it is tempting to accept the insurance company’s first offer. That is never a good idea. Your insurance company wants to quickly pay out as little as possible. That is how they make money. The insurer’s initial offer is usually low, because the company anticipates the injured person might accept it. Keep in mind, however, that it is not the last offer they will make.
Most people do not know what a reasonable settlement offer is, and the amount the insurer initially offers may sound adequate. They also know that once a policyholder agrees to this, no further negotiation is possible. That holds even if it turns out your injuries are more extensive than originally believed. However, at that point, the insurance company is done with your claim, and you are on your own.
Why You Need a Car Accident Attorney
It is likely an insurance adjuster contacted you shortly after the accident. While they may appear helpful, they are looking out for the insurer’s interests, not yours. This includes minimizing your injuries– insurance adjusters receive extensive training in negotiation.
Because insurers want to settle for an unfair amount, do not volunteer any information that could harm your case. They will use anything you say against you, no matter how inadvertent the remark. It is not unusual for the insurer to allege injuries were not caused by the car accident but result from a pre-existing condition.
While Recovering from an Accident
Never sign an agreement or record a statement before obtaining legal advice. The fine print may involve all sorts of limitations the average person may not understand. However, when an accident victim has an attorney representing them, the insurance company realizes it will end up spending more money– if they are not negotiating in good faith.
While recovering from an accident, no one wants to deal with insurance companies and their constant phone calls and letters. A lawyer takes care of that so the victim can focus on recuperation. At Douglas and London, we know how to negotiate with an insurance company, and how to calculate a fair settlement offer.
Wait to Heal Before Settling
When a car accident results in serious injuries, future medical needs are still unknown. It is critical never to settle a claim before some healing has taken place, and there is a better idea of your prognosis. Full recovery is the ideal time to settle– since your attorney can determine what is fair. That is usually several months after the accident.
When an injury causes long-term or permanent impairment, understanding future costs is critical, and may include:
- Future medical and rehabilitation expenses
- Special equipment
- Home or vehicle modification
- Need for nursing home or similar care
Pain and Suffering
The insurance company’s first offer almost certainly does not take your pain and suffering into account. Pain and suffering after a car crash refer not only to the victim’s physical injuries but to psychological and emotional distress. Your lawyer will document this in negotiations with the insurance company.
Contact Douglas and London in New York
If you were badly injured, an experienced car accident attorney in New York from our firm could help you receive the maximum compensation. Schedule a free consultation today by contacting us online or calling our offices. After reviewing your case, we will advise you of your options. The majority of cases are settled, but we will head to trial when necessary. We work on a contingency basis, so there is no fee unless we win. Hablamos Español.