When it comes to a car accident settlement, it’s important to know that you aren’t obliged to accept the first offer. In fact, if you do this, you risk getting a low settlement that may not even cover all your damages.
Some people prefer going to trial in such cases because this way they have a guarantee that they’ll get the money (with a chance to access the money sooner). There are several reasons why some people won’t accept the first settlement and we’ll go through them in this text.
What’s important is to have an attorney by your side. If you were involved in a car accident, make sure to contact an Indianapolis car accident lawyer.
Reasons Why People Don’t Accept a Car Accident Settlement
Sometimes the settlement offer isn’t reasonable for the plaintiff. They wouldn’t accept the car accident settlement if they demanded a certain amount and then got a lower offer. Another reason for not accepting the settlement if the defendant doesn’t offer any settlement at all, so the plaintiff will have no choice but to go to trial.
When punitive damages are involved, the plaintiff will prefer to go to court so they can get a higher award.
The value of the plaintiff’s claim takes certain damages into accounts such as the following:
- Medical bills (ambulance rides, hospital stay, medications, therapy, surgeries)
- Lost wages or future earning capacity from missing days, weeks, or months of work
- Damage property (including car repairs)
- Pain and suffering
Often, the plaintiff will reject the settlement if it’s too low (in case it won’t cover the upper mentioned bills and expenses). A personal injury attorney can draft a counteroffer that explains to the defendant why the plaintiff deserves the compensation they requested.
Can You Sue After Accepting a Settlement?
One big reason why many people won’t accept a settlement is that often the liable party’s insurance will demand the victim to sign a liability waiver before they collect the settlement. This waiver is a legally required form that prohibits the plaintiff from seeking compensation for the same accident or suing the at-fault party.
It’s Always Up to You
There’s no rule that you should refuse the offer. If you believe that the offer is suitable and that will help you cover your damages, but also believe that there won’t be any higher offer, you can accept it.
Your attorney can suggest what to do, but you have the final word.
What’s important is to make a decision that matters, not just make it because it’s expected from you. Take some time, consult with your lawyer and your family before saying the final word.
Low Offers are Common
You should be prepared to get a low offer. Insurance companies will do their best to offer a settlement that won’t affect their budget. When you get the offer, it’s very likely that you’re stressed and emotional and probably scared. You’ve been injured and bills are waiting. Maybe your doctor or mechanic is pressuring you to pay the bills and you fear that you won’t get any better offer than the current one.
The adjuster knows that you’re in a stressful time of your life and that you feel the pressure. Therefore, they know that you might accept a lower offer. The insurers will calculate what claims such as yours typically cost the company, so they’ll offer you less just to see if you’re going to accept it.
Consult an Attorney
Don’t get tricked by an insurance company. They will ask you questions after the accident and every word you say will be used against you.
After an accident, you might still be recovering and have many things on your plate. A personal injury or car accident attorney should review your case and guide you into the entire process.
They will advise you to take or not to take the offer (you have the final word). If you refuse it, they will readily start negotiating with the insurers.
You should be ready that you may or may not get a better offer; still, the negotiation should be done by a skilled and experienced lawyer.
Our team at Rowe and Hamilton is here to help you with your case. We have a history with such things (negotiation, seeking settlements, counselling). We are ready for you and your questions. Allow us to stand by your side.
Contact our office today and schedule your first consultation completely free of charge.