After an accident, you will have to be forced to deal with insurance companies to get the compensation you need. The insurance companies can be tricky and may try and take advantage of you. Therefore, it is wise to be cautious when interacting with them and consider retaining a lawyer to advocate on your behalf. When trying to negotiate a fair settlement for your injury claim, I cannot recommend enough that you never accept the first offer made by the insurance company (unless the first offer is for the available policy limits, in which case further investigation would be necessary to determine that is all the available policy limits).
The First Offer Will Not Reflect the Full Value of the Case
The first amount offered on an injury claim is almost never close to the fair value of what an injury claim is worth. This is a routine practice by insurance companies and like a poker player showing a false tell they will almost always start at a price lower than they are willing to pay, hoping you will accept it. Insurance companies expect to negotiate, and you should always take that opportunity to negotiate for a higher settlement. You will almost always get a better settlement offer than the first offer if you negotiate.
Case Study: Car Accident Claim
Except if the available insurance policy limits have been offered, I cannot think of any case in which I have recommended that a client accept the first offer in an injury case. A recent case I had exemplifies why you should never accept the first offer. Before retaining me as her lawyer my client had unsuccessfully spent months trying to manage her case car accident injury claim. She had gotten nowhere with the insurance company and came to me looking for help. The insurance company she was dealing with was arguing that her injuries were entirely pre-existing conditions and were not caused by the accident in question. After this client retained my services my office was able to retrieve her medical records and send a demand package to the insurance company wherein we demanded they pay the available insurance policy limits to settle her claims.
The insurance company responded by making a very low offer in light of the value of the case for only $5,000. Remember, it is never good to accept the first offer so we rejected the offer. My office then obtained medical proof in the form of a written report from a doctor wherein the doctor opined that her condition was caused by the accident in question. I sent this doctor’s report to the insurance company, and we again demanded the available insurance policy limits. In response, the insurance company raised their previous offer minimally to $7,500. We rejected the offer and I subsequently filed a lawsuit. During the litigation process, I was eventually able to obtain a six-figure, policy limit settlement for my client.
This case is a prime example of how much lower the first and even second settlement offer can be compared to what an insurance company may pay on an injury claim. It is also a prime example of how important it can potentially be to seek out a personal injury attorney.
Speak with an Attorney Right Away
No matter how cut and dry your case may seem the insurance companies usually do not take you very seriously if you do not have an attorney and will try to settle your case cheaply. We work hard to maximize settlement for our clients. All initial consultations are free. In fact, we never take a fee on a case, unless we win your case. If you have been injured in an accident, don’t wait, call Tate!