Don’t Take the First Offer the Insurance Company Gives You
When you get into a car accident and seek compensation through an insurance company, you may be tempted to settle your claim quickly to get the money you need and move on. Insurance companies are no fools. They understand that most injured victims want to get it over with as soon as possible, which is why they may offer a quick settlement.
However, it is generally not a good idea to rush toward accepting the insurance company’s first offer. You need to think about your best options before you sign anything. At The Paul Benson Law Firm, I can help you understand how much your case is worth to ensure that you get fair and full compensation. As a personal injury attorney who serves accident victims throughout Janesville, Beloit, and surrounding areas in Wisconsin, I represent clients in settlement negotiations and help them fight for the compensation to which they are entitled.
Insurance Company’s Response to an Accident Claim
Insurance companies use a variety of tactics when dealing with accident claims. In many cases, an accident victim may expect one of the following responses from an insurance company:
Avoidance. It is not uncommon for insurers to simply avoid the person who filed a claim for compensation. An insurance adjuster may ignore the claim for weeks or months on end, fail to return your calls, and not respond to your complaints in a timely manner.
Quick settlement. Often, insurance companies use an entirely different tactic: they offer a quick settlement that is far less than what the injured party deserves. Insurers understand that you may be in a desperate situation and may be willing to accept a quick settlement without knowing how much your case is worth.
If you are dealing with an insurance company’s dishonest tactics, seek legal guidance from an experienced attorney.
Reasons You Should Refuse the Offer
While it may be tempting to take the first offer from the insurance company, doing so can be detrimental to your recovery. Some of the reasons why you should refuse the insurer’s initial settlement offer include:
The first offer is a lowball. In most cases, the settlement offer that comes in fast is a lowball offer. An initial settlement offer is just the starting point for negotiations. While they expect you to accept the offer, they leave room for negotiation.
You will lose your right to pursue legal action. Once you accept the insurance company’s first offer, you automatically lose your right to seek any additional compensation in the future.
You may not know the full extent of your injuries. Often, insurance companies offer a quick settlement before the injured party has a chance to speak with an attorney and realize the full extent of their injuries. Generally, it is not advised to settle a personal injury claim before you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). Reaching MMI means that it is unlikely that your condition will get any better.
It is vital to speak with an attorney as soon as the insurance company makes a first settlement offer. A personal injury attorney will help you determine whether it is best to accept or reject the insurer’s offer.
What Happens if You Refuse to Take the First Offer?
Contrary to popular belief, you will not lose your right to pursue compensation if you refuse to take the insurance company’s first offer. Instead, your refusal will mark the beginning of negotiations between you and the insurer. Once you reject the insurer’s offer, you or your attorney will prepare a demand letter that spells out how much money you are seeking and presents the facts of your case.
Then, you will have to wait for the insurance company’s response. After refusing to take the first offer, back-and-forth communications with the insurance company will continue for as long as necessary to come to an agreement. If no agreement is reached, you may need to file a lawsuit.
Skilled Advocacy: The Paul Benson Law Firm
If you were offered to accept a quick settlement, do not accept the offer right away. You must speak with a practiced attorney to get advice on the best way to proceed. As a personal injury attorney with offices in Janesville and Beloit, Wisconsin, I know how to handle the insurance company’s tactics. Contact The Paul Benson Law Firm so we can discuss your unique case and pursue the compensation you deserve.