When you sustain a catastrophic personal injury, you rightfully deserve compensation from the at-fault party for your damages, your suffering and the disruption to your life. However, pursuing the best possible outcome in a personal injury case can be a stressful process and you likely wish for it to come to a swift conclusion so you can put the whole affair behind you.
This raises the question of what you should do when the insurance company offers you a settlement and whether you should simply accept their initial offer. At Cellino Law, our personal injury attorneys help you understand your options every step of the way so you can get the peace of mind you deserve after an accident.
How Do Insurance Settlements Work?
When you file a personal injury claim against a person who caused harm to you through their negligent actions, any compensation you receive will typically come from that at-fault party’s insurance company. For example, if you sustain an injury in a car accident, you will likely pursue compensation from the other driver’s auto insurance provider.
The compensation you receive comes in the form of a monetary settlement. The insurance company might offer an initial settlement right away or you might negotiate for a favorable settlement with help from your legal team. If the insurer denies your claim or refuses to offer a satisfactory amount, you might choose to take the matter to court where a judge will mandate a certain settlement if your case is successful.
Accepting a settlement means forfeiting your right to pursue any further compensation for the accident in question, so it is important to fully understand the insurance company’s intentions when they offer a settlement and to recognize what a favorable settlement might look like for your case.
Why Do Insurance Companies Rush To Offer a Settlement?
It is important to keep in mind that the other party’s insurance provider does not necessarily have your best interests at heart. They are providing a service to the other party and have their own business interests to consider. Insurance companies can only benefit from you accepting a settlement that is less than you deserve.
To that end, some insurance providers might rush to offer you a settlement very soon after your accident. The goal of this behavior is to convince you to settle before you have a chance to fully evaluate the extent of your damages. The insurance company might also be banking on your desire to put matters to rest as quickly as possible, but keep in mind that you might be doing yourself a major disservice by hastily accepting an initial settlement offer.
What Does a Reasonable Offer Look Like?
A reasonable settlement offer is one that covers most if not all of the expenses and other damages you incur as a result of the other party’s negligence. If the insurance company rushed to offer you a settlement before you had a chance to fully evaluate the scope of your damages, you can assume it might not be a reasonable offer.
When considering whether or not an offer is truly satisfactory, make time to take stock of all the types of damages that occurred as a result of your accident and seek help from your personal injury attorney in valuing them. Common damages in a personal injury case might include:
- Medical costs
- Lost wages and benefits
- Loss of income-earning ability
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
A reasonable settlement offer not only takes into account your immediate damages but also any future costs or difficulties you might experience due to the accident caused by the at-fault party.
When Should I Accept a Settlement?
It is rarely, if ever, a good idea to accept an initial settlement offer. The first step toward reaching a settlement that you should accept is to work with an attorney who can help you negotiate a more favorable outcome.
It also may be worthwhile to wait until after you make a full recovery from your injuries to accept any settlement offer. While it is likely the case that you wish to put an end to stressful negotiations as soon as possible, not to mention securing financial compensation that can make a large difference in a difficult situation, the practical side of the situation is that waiting for your healing to complete can help you secure a larger settlement. This ensures that the full extent of your injuries comes to light and that there will be no doubt regarding any future complications you might face due to those injuries.
If you choose not to accept, take heart in knowing that the insurance company’s first offer is not your final chance to receive compensation. You have the option to make a counteroffer or even take the matter to court if necessary.
When Should I Counter a Settlement Offer?
As the injured party in a personal injury claim, you ultimately have the final say on whether or not you should accept a settlement. If the offer is unsatisfactory, whether because it does not fully cover your expenses or because the insurance company is clearly lowballing you, then you have the option to counter by demonstrating the true worth of your claim.
Having thorough documentation on your side will lend a great deal of credibility to your case if you decide to counter the insurance company’s initial offer. Medical records, repair receipts and other proof of expenses can paint a clear picture of how much the insurance company should rightfully offer you in a settlement.
An experienced personal injury attorney knows which documentation can make a difference and can assume the burden of compiling this evidence in an effective way. Your legal team can also handle any discussions or negotiations with the insurance company, leveraging specialized knowledge and practical know-how to ensure that insurers cannot take advantage of you.
How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help Me?
In addition to providing guidance in your personal injury claim and helping you identify the evidence that can help you counter a lowball settlement offer, there are a number of hands-on ways that an attorney can assist you in securing the best possible outcome. Our lawyers at Cellino Law can take an active role in your case by:
- Personally investigating the circumstances surrounding your accident
- Handling any paperwork and other administrative tasks for you
- Valuing your economic and non-economic damages
- Negotiating with the insurance company and other lawyers on your behalf
- Representing you in court if necessary
Involving an attorney in your personal claim early on in the process can make a significant difference. Not only can your lawyer help you accurately file your initial claim but they can also answer any questions you might have and help you explore all possible options for securing compensation.
Call a Personal Injury Attorney Who Will Fight for You
It can be tempting to immediately accept a settlement when the insurance company quickly presents you with a seemingly large check. However, you might not know right away whether or not the amount offered to you is truly capable of covering all your current and future expenses. At Cellino Law, our attorneys have the experience and expertise to help guide you toward the decision that is best for you and your family. Contact us today by calling (888) 888-8888 or reach out online to learn more.
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- Thank you for all your help. It has been a long journey. At last, the light at the end of the tunnel. Also, thank Tom for the help and work he put in.
- Thank you for your help in settling the case of my father's accident. I could always count on you to answer my questions honestly and in terms I could understand. If all lawyers at Cellino Law are like you, I understand why they are an A-1 law firm.
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- Mark Kochanowicz is from far the best attorney you can have. Mark treats you like a friend more than a client. He truly cares and go the extra mile for you and your case, contacts you to update you in regards to your case and keep you informed at all times. Mark represented me twice and settled my cases for way more than I expected. I highly recommend Mark Kochanowicz because he is just the best on what he does!!! Thank you Mark!!!!
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- This letter is to thank Ms. Diane D’Andrea, assistant to Mr. George Gridelli, Attny for all the hard work, dedication, and attentiveness she showed during the representation of my case. She was always cheerful and ready to help in whatever way she could. All messages left for Mr. Gridelli were always relayed and Mr. Gridelli always promptly returned our calls. She was a very competent assistant. Cellino Law has proven to be a model of what legal representation should be. Throughout the 6 ½ years of this case, I have heard many horror stories from people with “bad lawyer stories.” We consider ourselves to be very lucky to have chosen Cellino Law and will always recommend you to those looking for good, honest representation with a personal touch.