Knowing When to Accept an Insurance Settlement After a Car Accident

If you have been involved in a car accident and have become injured, you may be wondering about the best way to pursue compensation for your damages. In North Carolina, victims of car accidents can bring a lawsuit against the at-fault driver for compensation. They can also pursue a claim with the at-fault driver's insurance company. Unfortunately, dealing with the insurance company will likely be frustrating and complicated. The insurance company may try to offer you a settlement that needs to be higher. 

How do you know when to accept a settlement offer? One of the best things you can do is discuss the settlement offer with an experienced attorney. The attorney can advise you and negotiate aggressively with the insurance company on your behalf. It is crucial that you do notonly accept the first offer made because it will probably be too low. You only have one chance to obtain compensation for injuries, so you must get the total amount of compensation you need. 

Should I Accept the First Insurance Offer I Have Been Given?

Becoming injured in a car accident can be devastating and overwhelming. Many victims have to spend significant time in the hospital, go to multiple doctor appointments, visit medical specialists, and undergo rehabilitation. Medical bills can add up significantly over a short time frame, making victims nervous about how they will pay all of their expenses. When victims cannot take time off of work, it is even more vital for them to receive the compensation they need and deserve. For all of these reasons, it can be tempting for car accident victims to accept the insurance company's first offer.

Accepting the first offer you have been given is almost always the wrong move. In virtually all cases, the first offer is a lowball offer that is insufficient to cover all the costs of your medical expenses, lost wages, vehicle damage, pain and suffering, and other damages you have incurred due to the car accident. Insurance companies are for-profit companies. Their main goal is to make a profit each year, and they are more than willing to deny victims fair settlement offers so they can meet their bottom line. As a result, they are notorious for making settlement offers to car accident victims far too low to reimburse you for your damages fairly. 

You Do Not Have to Accept the First Offer

Insurance companies can put significant pressure on victims, making them feel like they have to accept the first settlement offer. It is essential to understand that you are not required to obtain the first offer; in most cases, you should not. Usually, the first offer is the insurance company's way of testing you to see if you will push back on their offer. In almost all cases, an attorney can attempt to successfully negotiate a better settlement offer after the first offer has been made. An attorney can offer you legal advice and handle the negotiations. 

There are several options your attorney can use to negotiate a better offer for you. For example, they may send a demand letter to the at-fault driver's insurance company addressed to the insurance company that made the first offer. The demand letter will typically include:

  • All the details of the accident.
  • A description of your injuries and medical treatment.
  • A dollar amount you are willing to accept as a fair amount of compensation.
What if the Offer is Too Low?

You are not alone if you are disappointed in your insurance company's first offer. It is typical for insurance adjusters to make offers that are lower than what your case is worth. Insurance companies want to avoid spending time dealing with ongoing negotiations and want to close the case as quickly as they can. If you receive a low offer, you can ask the insurance company to justify the amount by providing specific reasons the offer is low and then make notes on the answer they give. 

Your adjuster may raise the settlement amount after you begin asking questions. You can also ask them for a reply to your demand letter. We recommend taking the steps or the help of an experienced attorney. If you have been given an offer from your insurance company but think it needs to be higher, the skilled car accident attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, are here to help. Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation and learn more about your legal rights. 

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