Should You Accept a Settlement Offer for a Car Accident Injury?
Fact checked by Clayton Hasbrook | Updated on June 1, 2016
Negligence means failing to take the precautions that are necessary to avoid a preventable accident. When a driver causes a car accident by being negligent – for instance, by playing with their phone instead of paying attention to the road – the injury victim may be entitled to compensation. Depending on the circumstances, compensation may be obtained by making a third-party claim with the other driver’s insurance company, a task our lawyers are happy to assist you with if you have recently been injured in a crash. It’s very important that you are represented by a skilled attorney when filing a claim, because settlement negotiations can be rife with hazards for those who lack experience with the process.
Why Do You Need a Car Accident Lawyer?
We’d like start by emphasizing that every car accident scenario is different. While articles online can help to provide you with general information, you should always consult with a personal injury lawyer before making any legal decisions regarding your car accident claim. That being said, it is typically is in your best interests to reject an auto insurance company’s initial settlement offer after you have been injured in a crash. The reason is very simple: initial offers are virtually always too low.
Insurance companies are businesses, and, like any business, have developed strategies to protect their bottom lines. The insurance company – which handles thousands upon thousands of claims like yours, year in and year out – knows very well that you are stressed, nervous, and full of uncertainty. They know you are worried about your medical bills. They know you are anxious to get compensated as soon as possible. They will try to exploit your stress and sense of urgency by making you a low initial offer.
They are counting on you to grab this offer out of fear that it might be the best you can get – but in many instances, that simply isn’t true. We know it’s not easy to turn down money when you’re concerned about how you’re going to pay for your medical expenses, but remember: it is often possible to get a higher offer if you stand firm and persist with the negotiations process.
Again, every legal matter is unique, so it is critical that you speak with an auto accident attorney regarding the specifics of your claim. Some insurance companies are more reasonable than others, and, though this very rarely occurs, the initial offer might be sufficient to cover your expenses.
We will help you determine the full value of your claim.
What Happens if You Reject a Low Personal Injury Settlement Offer?
You begin the claims process by submitting a demand packet, also called a demand package. The demand packet contains your settlement demand letter, which summarizes the accident, its impacts on your life and finances, and the compensation you are seeking as a result. Your attorney will prepare your demand packet for you.
The insurance company will evaluate your claim by going over the information contained in your demand packet. You should receive a response from the insurer within the next several days or weeks, depending on factors like the complexity of your claim and how busy the insurer is handling other claims. Assuming the insurer does not deny the policyholder’s liability outright – in which case, you should contact an experienced attorney immediately – they will probably reject your demand with a substantially lower offer. This can produce a lot of stress, but try not to panic: the process isn’t necessarily over. With help from your attorney, you can make a written counteroffer.
The counteroffer letter should refute, in as much detail and supported by as much evidence as possible, each and every reason supplied for the insurer’s refusal of your initial demand. More specifically, your counteroffer should contain three pieces of information: a formal statement that you reject the initial offer, a comprehensive explanation justifying your demand, and of course, the demand itself.
You may have to continue this process to arrive at a reasonable figure. But don’t worry – your attorney will be there to counsel you and make sure you are not being taken advantage of or omitting important information from your claim. Your attorney can also help you file a personal injury lawsuit if negotiations do not yield an acceptable settlement offer.
Reach Out Today
To set up a free legal consultation about your car accident claim, call the experienced auto accident attorneys of Hasbrook & Hasbrook at (405) 235-1551. Our knowledgeable legal team brings more than 75 years of combined experience to every case we handle. We represent accident victims in Oklahoma City and the surrounding communities, including Edmond, Moore, Tuttle, McLoud, Guthrie, Norman, El Reno, Shawnee, and more.