Do You Have to Accept An Insurance Settlement?
Insurance companies use a standard to settle all insurance claims. Your injuries may not be typical or match with any given standard. It could be worse or could require a different kind of treatment. First thing after an incident, you are worried about your injuries or your loved one’s pain. Later you will be worried about repairing your vehicle or property. Some injuries would require more time to heal. It may take months together. In this stressful scenario, people will usually accept whatever amount the insurance company offers.
When you file an insurance claim after an accident, the insurance company sends an insurance claims officer, who verifies the case and reviews everything before offering an amount to settle the case. The insurance company has given this officer authority to settle your case in a certain dollar range. Therefore, the claims officer offers you the lowest on this range on behalf of their employer.
It is advised that you wait until all your injuries are healed before accepting any offer. If in case, the injuries are severe and further hospitalization or surgeries are required, on-going medical care may be necessary along with rehabilitation which is not considered in the first settlement offer made by the insurance officer/company.
Most companies know that when you are feeling the financial crunch you will be ready to take up whatever they offer. You should not accept the first offer without careful review or consultation with an attorney. From the time of the accident, there is two years time to file for a claim. So first focus on healing yourself, repairing the damages and collect all the bills. In the meantime, if the insurance company offers a settlement via check do not cash it. If the officer approaches you with an offer, do not accept it. Inform the company/officer that you are not accepting it.
Do the math yourself, though the offered amount seems reasonable at that time to clear the bills. You may have to miss out of work for days or months, you may need physical or psychological therapy which may not have been considered initially. You have to evaluate your claim, whether or not your policy gives you medical, collision and comprehensive coverage because you only claim what is covered in your policy. Find out who is at-fault at an accident. How much were you responsible for the accident? It is common for insurance companies to exaggerate your mistakes to underpay for your claim settlement.
Taking a professional help to evaluate your accident might help because it is difficult to give a value to your accident or injury. It is crucial to understand if the offer of settlement is too low. You can also check with the insurance officer to find out what factors he looked into before arriving at an amount. You can discuss with him if you feel there was something they missed or did not evaluate correctly.
When you disagree with the claim offer, you need to write a letter to the insurance company stating all the facts, the injuries, the value for your settlement and why you are rejecting it. Once you have the value to your incident, you can decide on a range you want to negotiate for. Be reasonable and not greedy. Just quoting huge numbers will not help you settle the case. Most car accident consultations are free of charge. You should utilize this and understand how your insurance attorney can help.
So take time to review, reject if the offer is low, and negotiate. Take legal help if you feel it is necessary.