What Is the Car Insurance Company’s First Settlement Offer All About?
If you’re injured in a car accident, you want to file a compensation claim against the at-fault driver for the damages. The process is often lengthy and requires specialized knowledge to maximize your claim value. The other driver’s insurance company may try to offer you a settlement out of court and persuade you to not hire a lawyer. Many people ask if they should accept the offer and wonder what would happen if they rejected it.
It’s advisable and in your best interest to consult a lawyer from a personal injury law firm in Illinois. They can take you through the compensation process and advise you on whether to accept the initial offer. Typically, you should never accept an offer to settle your claim without consulting an attorney as insurance adjusters are trained to convince you to accept a rock bottom offer without the input of an attorney.
Why Shouldn’t I Accept the Insurance Company’s First Settlement Offer?
An experienced car accident lawyer in Chicago has an in-depth understanding of how personal injury and will likely advise you to not accept the insurance company’s offer because, in most cases, the settlement amount from the insurance company will most likely:
- be lower than what the car accident claim is worth
- come before you can capture the complete picture of your losses, such as how long it takes to recover from the injuries and what treatment is necessary to heal
- come before you can hire an attorney to understand the true value of your claim
- not be the final or last offer
The insurance company’s offer is often a kick-off to the settlement negotiations and is, therefore, likely to be less than the amount you deserve even with an attorney.
The Adjuster Has the Company’s Interest in Mind, Not Yours
Another crucial thing to remember is that the insurance adjuster in charge of working on your claim works for the insurance company, not for you. Insurance adjusters may be professional and seem friendly, but they are not your friend. They aim to increase the company’s profits while minimizing your settlement amount as much as possible and are financially incentivized to save the insurance company money on your claim. They will do everything possible to ensure the company only parts with the least amount possible. Insurance companies are in the business of collecting premiums while paying as little as possible on claims.
That’s why the insurer will quickly offer a low settlement, hoping you will take it and get off their back. If you accept the initial offer, you play right into their hands and miss out on the possible maximum compensation amount. Always consult a skilled Chicago car accident attorney to help you negotiate the amount you deserve. At Kramer Injury Law LLC, we will tell you honestly whether we can add value to your settlement offer.
An Insurance Adjuster Can Use Anything You Say Against You
While making their offer, an insurance adjuster will often ask you many questions. In doing so, they hope you will say something to get them off the hook for paying your damages. You have a contractual obligation to speak with your insurance company, but you rarely have a legal duty.
You also aren’t required by law to give a recorded statement to the other insurance company. Remember that they will try to get you to provide a recorded statement, but you can politely and firmly decline. Ask them to contact your Chicago car accident lawyer instead, who will handle all the communication on your behalf. That way, you’ll avoid incriminating yourself. Frankly, Kramer Injury Law LLC will likely decline to represent an individual that waited too long to hire us precisely because it means you have been on a recorded line with an insurance adjuster too many times (amongst other things).
You Give Up Your Right to Pursue Further Legal Action
As mentioned earlier, the insurance company hopes to part with the least possible amount early into the claim process. Once you agree to the offer, you must sign a release form. As its name implies, the document suggests that you have given up your right to take any further legal action concerning the car accident in question.
If you later realize the consequences of the car accident were worse than you initially thought, you won’t have the right to pursue any additional compensation. The insurance company already knows this, and your car accident lawyer should provide legal counsel on what you need to know before signing a release. That will enable you to make an informed decision.
How Can I Determine How Much My Injuries Are Worth?
Most initial offers by insurance companies only cover the obvious out-of-pocket expenses such as medical expenses, car repairs, and past lost wages. They rarely cover the total compensation amount you can rightfully recover after in-depth investigations into the factors surrounding the accident.
The input of an experienced lawyer from a personal injury firm in Illinois is crucial in helping you get some sense of how much your injuries are worth. They can calculate non-economic damages, which the insurance adjuster is not likely to figure out in the offer. These include
- Past and Future Pain and Suffering
- Past and Future Emotional Distress
- Past and Future Loss of Normal Life/Disability
- Increased Risk of Harm
- Lost Companionship
- Lost Services of Spouse
- Past and Future Lost Earning Capacity
- Past and Future Caretaking Expenses
- And more!
These losses are intangible and are challenging to calculate, unlike economic damages, such as medical bills. You really need an experienced injury lawyer who understands how all of the evidence in your case relates to the value of your non-economic damages.
An Experienced Car Accident Attorney Helping You Get the Compensation Amount You Deserve
Insurance companies may offer a settlement amount out of court if you file a claim after a car accident. You may be tempted to accept it to avoid going to court, but this may not work to your advantage. However, just because you’ve started the claim process doesn’t mean the case will go to court.
Our skilled car accident attorneys in Chicago can fight to ensure you get the compensation you deserve without the headache associated with handling a claim on your own. Our law firm has been providing legal assistance to car accident victims for many years. We defend you aggressively against insurance adjusters who may want to short-change you. Book a meeting with us for an in-depth case evaluation.