Generally it’s not a good idea to accept the first insurance settlement offer from an insurance company. One of the most important things to remember is that insurance adjusters for the most part aren’t looking out for the best interests of the claimant. Their goal is to get an injured victim to settle the claim not only quickly, but for as little as possible.
An Initial Insurance Settlement Offer May Not Account for Future Costs
While accepting the first offer as quickly as possible may mean faster recovery of some funds, it may not fully account for the claimant’s damages or future costs and losses.
Sometimes injuries become more complicated than was anticipated. Some may assume that no further treatment is necessary yet eventually they may require surgery. Or some believe the healing process will last a few weeks, but months later the individual is still suffering from debilitating symptoms. Once the claimant settles the claim with the insurance company, there is no ability to recover future medical costs.
If the case has settled and additional costs creep up, the individual will have to pay for any:
- physical therapy; or
- other medical treatment out of his or her own pocket.
It’s best to wait until treatment is complete, or the claimant has a good idea of what costs to expect later. But it’s not just medical bills about which individuals should be concerned. Additional treatment and recovery time could also mean additional time away from work, which leads to lost income. In some cases claimants may miss the opportunity to recover damages such as pain and suffering or permanent disability.
A First Insurance Settlement Offer May Be Very Low
Besides the dangers of settling a claim too quickly, it’s also important to consider that the first offer is likely going to be a low one. The insurance company may try to make it sound good, but the truth is, it wants to pay out as little as it can.
Not only are there actual costs to consider—those that have a specific value attached to them—such as the cost to repair a damaged vehicle, medical bills and lost wages. But there are noneconomic losses that the claimant will likely have to negotiate.
For instance, how does one put a price on pain and suffering or the mental anguish sustained in a serious accident? The insurance company will either attempt to avoid payment of these damages or will offer to settle for a very low amount that’s much less than the damages’ true value.
How an Attorney Can Help Negotiate a Settlement with the Insurance Company
The above-mentioned are some of the reasons it’s typically a good idea to seek legal counsel. Whenever someone’s injuries are serious or there is a dispute regarding fault, an attorney can protect the injured person’s rights.
In fact, a lawyer can take over negotiations with the insurance company so the claimant doesn’t have to deal with that on top of all the other stresses inherent in serious accidents. For help negotiating a settlement, contact Cordisco & Saile LLC today.