Dangers of Accepting the Initial Settlement Offer
Posted on behalf of Phillips Law Group on Jul 31, 2020 in Personal Injury
Being injured in an accident can turn your life upside down. The costs of medical treatment alongside vehicle repairs or loss of wages from being unable to work while in recovery can cause financial strain.
Wanting to recover compensation as soon as possible to recoup these losses is understandable and in most cases insurance companies are quick to offer a settlement. However, accepting an offer early on, without legal guidance, could hurt your ability to recover the compensation you need.
Below, our legal team further discusses the dangers in accepting an initial settlement offer and why you should consult with an experienced lawyer before signing on the dotted line. Let us help you better understand your rights and potential legal options during a risk-free, no-obligation consultation.
Insurance Adjusters Work for the Insurer
The insurance adjuster’s job is to protect the insurance company’s best interests, not yours. Insurance companies are in the business of making money. Paying out claims can be costly and affects their bottom line. Insurance adjusters must calculate a settlement offer that still allows them to make a profit or at least break even. An insurer would not make money if they simply paid every claim in full.
Insurance adjusters are not looking to ensure you receive the maximum amount of compensation available to you. That is why claims are often denied or devalued. An insurance adjuster will try to hold whatever they can against you, including the things you say, to minimize payouts after an accident.
The First Offer is Usually Too Low
Almost any first offer made by an insurance company is too low. Remember, paying out as little as possible is their goal. Insurers know how financially stressful it can be after an accident. They will use this to their advantage to convince you to accept a quick, lowball offer.
However, the insurance adjuster who offers you the settlement will not inform you that it is less than the full value of your claim. Instead, he or she will make it sound as if the insurance company has done everything it can to get you fair compensation. This initial offer may not cover basic medical expenses and lost wages.
That is why it is important to think of the initial settlement offer as the starting point for negotiations instead of your only chance at recovering compensation. It may take multiple settlement negotiations to get the insurance company to get the insurance company to make an offer that accurately reflects the full value of your claim.
Your Damages Require a Better Assessment
The full value of your damages cannot be assessed in the first several weeks following an accident. If you have suffered long-term damage or permanent disability, this would significantly affect the amount of compensation you could be awarded. If you accept the initial settlement offer, there is a good chance that it will not cover the necessary treatments you may need in the future, such as surgery or physical rehabilitation.
You should also not rely on the insurance adjuster’s assessments. A licensed Phoenix personal injury lawyer from our firm is prepared to conduct an investigation to determine the full cost of your damages.
You May Be Eligible for Additional Compensation
With the first offer, the insurance adjuster may tell you that it will pay the policy limits to settle your claim because it is all you can receive. If the costs of medical bills are higher than the limits of the insurance policy, you may be eligible for more compensation. However, accepting an initial settlement offer could waive your right to additional compensation for your personal injuries and property damage.
It is in your best interest not to settle until you can accurately calculate your accident-related costs.
Once You Accept an Offer, it is Final
Rushing to accept the first settlement offer could also limit your ability to pursue full compensation. Accepting the settlement will likely mean signing a liability release form. The offer would be final and essentially end your pursuit for compensation. You would be releasing the insurance company from any future liability for your injuries, damages and losses.
Hire an Experienced Lawyer to Manage Your Claim
It is understandable to want compensation sooner rather than later after being injured in an accident. However, accepting an insurance company’s initial settlement offer could made things worse down the road. It will take time to understand the full scope of your injuries and how they will affect you.
Our lawyers at Phillips Law Group know the tactics insurance adjusters use to try to get you to accept less compensation than what your claim is potentially worth. We are prepared to guide you throughout the legal process.
An initial consultation with us is free of charge. If we represent you, there are no upfront fees to utilize our services. We only receive payment if you obtain compensation.
No Risk. No Obligations. Ph: 1-800-706-3000