You do not have to accept the settlement offer that the insurance company makes. Accepting an offer right away could be detrimental in some cases, as it may not be enough to cover the cost of your injuries and other losses. Remember, insurers rarely open with their best offer, as they operate as for-profit organizations, so you should never feel pressured to make a decision quickly.
Our personal injury attorneys will always act in your best interests. As such, we will carefully review your case’s facts to help you determine whether a settlement offer is appropriate for your circumstances. Meanwhile, this guide aims to answer common questions many clients ask about their settlement offers.
Why do Insurance Companies Offer to Settle Early?
While receiving a settlement offer right away may seem like a good thing, it is not beneficial in many personal injury cases. Offering an early settlement is a strategy an insurance company may use to minimize their company’s financial liability and capitalize on an injured person’s vulnerable position before they have clarity about the scope of their injuries.
It is a good idea to avoid accepting a settlement offer until you fully recover from your injuries or have a firm medical prognosis about them from your doctor.
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Can I Change My Mind After Accepting an Early Offer to Settle My Claim?
Once you have accepted an offer from the liable party’s insurance company, your case is closed. This means you cannot pursue any additional compensation, even if you discover you need extra medical care or treatment later.
Typically, you need to sign something to accept an offer, but sometimes, even a verbal agreement can be binding. If you ever feel stuck about answering or, worse, pressured into making a decision, you can always politely inform the insurance adjuster:
- You do not have all of the information necessary to decide at this time.
- You or your lawyer will be in touch when you fully know the extent of your injuries.
If you are unsure about your legal position, reaching out for a free case review with a personal injury law firm can be beneficial.
How do I Know If a Personal Injury Settlement Offer Is Fair?
Knowing the financial extent of your injuries and other losses can be difficult. Your claim’s value is determined by several factors such as:
- The type of accident that caused your injuries
- The extent and severity of your injuries and how they affect your daily life, family, and career
- The total financial value of your damages, like medical bills, lost wages, ongoing treatment costs, and pain and suffering
- Other costs associated with the claim
- Whether there is potential for a defense based on contributory negligence, which means you are accused of sharing fault for the accident (Ohio Revised Code Section 2315.33)
- The evidence available to support your case
An accurate estimate of your losses provides a benchmark for an appropriate settlement, so proving the financial extent of your injuries is critical to your case. You or your lawyer will need to gather evidence to demonstrate the present and future losses you have experienced due to your accident.
Evidence can come from medical records, diagnostic reports, wage stubs, and expert testimony. Once you have this information, it is easier to decide if you should accept the insurance company’s settlement offer.
What Happens After I Reject an Insurer’s Injury Settlement Offer?
You do not lose your right to claim compensation by rejecting an offer. You should first submit a letter that outlines your refusal. This letter’s purpose is to formally notify the insurer that you do not accept their initial offer, why you feel you deserve a higher settlement amount, and what that amount is. One of our personal injury lawyers can help you draft this letter.
Presenting a counteroffer paves the way for settlement negotiations. Unsurprisingly, this can be stressful if you are unfamiliar with the process, and the insurance company can use this to its advantage. As such, it can be beneficial to have a lawyer take care of negotiations and case administration for you to even the playing field.
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Where Can I Learn More About If I Should Accept an Insurer’s Settlement Offer?
If you have received a low settlement offer from an insurance company or feel an insurance adjuster is not treating you fairly, the injury attorneys at Bressman Law can help.
We have been helping injured people with their accident claims for over 30 years, so we know what a fair settlement looks like. If you have questions or want to learn more about your legal options, contact us for a free case review.