The Anatomy of an Offer: Post-Accident Insurance Settlements

A car accident can be a life-changing event from which it can take weeks, months or even years to fully recover.  In some unfortunate cases, victims of a careless driver never fully regain what they had before the accident. This is why it is important to know your rights after a car accident, so that your focus can return to what is most important, your family.  What many accident victims discover immediately after a car accident is that they are approached by the at-fault driver’s insurance company with an offer of settlement.  The offer may include a timeframe within which the victim must decide whether to accept it, and may be silent as to whether it is negotiable.  This is because insurance companies do not want car accident victims to know that they have the ability to negotiate a fair settlement, or file a lawsuit if the settlement offer is too low to pay their medical bills.

Knowing the process is half the battle

Following a car accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will immediately assign the case to an insurance adjuster.  It is this person’s job to investigate the accident and minimize the amount of money the insurance company will have to pay.  Depending on the nature of the accident, the insurance investigation could take days, or it could take weeks or months.  Unfortunately, an injured victim’s hospital bills often begin to accumulate immediately.  All too often this works in favor of the insurance company as they have the ability to step in and make what may seem at the time to be a reasonable offer of settlement to the victim.  The stress of rising costs, lost wages from being unable to report to work, and the costs associated with finding alternate transportation are often too much for victims to handle, and they end up accepting the first offer they receive.

While a quick settlement can help a victim pay bills in the short-term, what the insurance company gains is a waiver of the victim’s right to sue it in a court of law for the full long-term damages to which they are entitled.  It is important for victims to know their rights and fully appreciate the extent of their damages before accepting a settlement, to ensure that they are not left holding the bill with no recourse down the road.  One of a car accident victim’s greatest tools is patience.  If a victim does not allow an insurance company’s high-pressure settlement tactics to rush them into an agreement that does not reflect the full damages, they can take advantage of police reports, witness statements and other evidence during negotiation.

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Let Our Attorneys Help You
Having the right support during the moments after a car accident can be the difference between being taken advantage of and recovering what you deserve.  Call the Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C. and speak to one of our attorneys.  We have years of experience representing victims of reckless drivers in accidents ranging from fender-benders to serious injuries.