After a car accident, do I have to accept the settlement that the insurance company offers? What can I do if it’s too low?
First and foremost, you should keep in mind that the at-fault driver’s insurance company does not have your best interest in mind after an accident. No matter how severe your injury is, or how much you’re suffering, it is likely that they are more worried about paying you out as quickly as possible than giving you the amount you need to compensate the affects of your injury.
When the at-fault insurance company offers you an initial settlement amount, it will be in your best interest to consult an experienced personal injury attorney before you accept or decline the offer. An attorney can help you determine whether the offer is too low based on the nature of your injury and recovery. Insurance adjusters are trained to purely process your claim in accordance with the insurance contract and financial interest of the company they work for. An attorney with experience that knows what is appropriate under the terms of the contract with the insurance company and the law for liability and damages claims available to you under the law and particular facts of your case is what is needed.
If the offer is too low, it should be rejected and the reasoning behind the rejection should be explained. Evidence to explain the rejection of an offer that’s too low may be a doctor’s note describing your injuries, the diagnosis or treatment, and the unpaid time you had to take off work to heal. Evidence can also come in the form of photos of bruising or scarring that prove how painful or limiting the injury is. Statements or letters from people you had to pay to do household work or run errands while you recover from your injury can also serve as proof that you require more compensation than the original offer.
If you’re wondering why the offer was so low in the first place, it may be because the at-fault insurance company doesn’t have all the documentation of your losses on file. Having an attorney on your side to help evaluate the need for more receipts for past expenses whether they are property damage, medical bills, or lost wages can make the process go more smoothly. But, it’s important that you have all the information necessary to communicate these losses to the insurance company — keeping track of pay stubs, receipts, and invoices is essential.
If negotiations for a fair settlement with the at-fault insurance company can’t be reached, that is where a lawsuit comes in to play. In a typical third party case, a lawsuit is filed against the party that hit you and their insurance company has a contract to defend them against your lawsuit. A lawsuit may be filed against the insurance company if it’s a first party claim like when an uninsured or underinsured motorist hits you or if your insurance company’s conduct is egregiously bad. Nobody should settle for pennies and dimes after suffering the consequences of an injury caused by someone else’s negligence.
If you have further questions or concerns about dealing with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, and the settlement process, don’t hesitate to contact the personal injury attorneys at Kelley and Canterbury, LLC. We have helped clients in Anchorage, AK get the compensation they deserve for their injuries and damages.