Should I Accept the First Settlement Offer from an Insurance Company?
Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers | Personal Injury
After a car accident, you may be saddled with extensive medical costs and repairs for property damage, all while the injury prevents you from working and earning enough to cover these costs. These pressures may motivate you to accept the first settlement offer that you receive from your insurance company.
Understanding whether you should accept that first settlement can help you make informed decisions in your personal injury case.
Should You Accept the First Offer?
You should generally not accept the first offer. Even if it seems reasonable, you should step back and consider the full extent of damages you may need to claim. Damages are intended to compensate for all of the costs, both present and future, that arise from the accident.
Rushing to accept an initial settlement offer can mean that you will miss out on compensation for future expenses, including:
- Future medical treatment and rehabilitation
- Injuries that worsen or that are worse than initially expected
- Loss of earning capacity
- Loss of enjoyment of daily activities
- Loss of consortium, or the impact upon the injured party’s relationships with loved ones
When an insurance company swiftly presents a settlement offer after an accident, the instinct to accept it might be strong. However, making a rushed decision without careful consideration could potentially undermine the full compensation you’re entitled to. It’s crucial to take a step back and assess several key factors before agreeing to any initial offer.
Why You Should Not Accept the Initial Offer
The initial settlement offer may seem reasonable at first, but insurance companies’ path to profit is to pay out as little as possible on their claims. By accepting the first offer, you risk forfeiting the opportunity to seek compensation for current and future expenses and losses. These expenses include ongoing medical treatments, rehabilitation, lost wages, and other potential long-term impacts. Patience in evaluating the true extent of your damages can significantly impact the final compensation you receive.
Tactics Employed By Insurance Companies
Insurance companies aim to avoid paying out on claims. They may attempt a variety of maneuvers to get you to accept a settlement offer that is worth less than what you deserve. Some of these common tactics include:
Obtaining Recorded Statements
Insurance companies often seek statements from you on the record. These statements may be used against you in evaluating the settlement amount. For instance, saying “I’m okay” may be twisted to argue that your injuries are less severe than they really are. You should refrain from admitting fault or making recorded statements.
Medical Release Forms
Insurance companies may get you to sign a medical release form. Companies do this with the intention of getting you to disclose pre-existing conditions. The terms of these releases give insurance companies the power to undermine your claim, using your own responses against you. You should consult with an attorney before filling out any such forms.
Can an Insurance Company Revoke an Offer?
The fear that an insurance company will revoke its offer can contribute to the pressure to accept an initial settlement offer. However, this is highly unlikely. Insurance companies generally expect parties to negotiate and make a counteroffer. A skilled attorney can negotiate your settlement from the insurance companies’ initial offer.
When to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
Seeking legal counsel is often the wisest course of action following an accident. An experienced personal injury attorney has the expertise to thoroughly evaluate your case, accurately assess the value of your claim, and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. The attorney can also identify and advise you to avoid insurance companies’ predatory tactics.
It is important to have an attorney who understands insurance companies’ tactics to minimize payouts. They can ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you rightfully deserve.
While it might be tempting to accept the first offer, it’s essential to think long-term and consider the full extent of your damages. Seeking the counsel of a seasoned personal injury attorney can help you secure compensation that adequately covers all your present and future needs.
Contact the Pinellas County Personal Injury Law Firm Of Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers for Help
For more information, please contact the Clearwater and St. Petersburg personal injury law firm of Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.
We serve in Pinellas County and its surrounding areas:
Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater
1875 N Belcher Rd. STE 201,
Clearwater, FL 33765,
Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers – St. Petersburg
2560 1st Ave S,
St. Petersburg, FL 33712,