Should You Accept a Settlement Offer From An Insurance Company?
If you are hurt in a car accident, after slipping on a wet floor or for any other reason, you may be entitled to compensation. Often, the insurance company representing the defendant in a personal injury case will make a settlement offer within hours or days of an accident occurring. However, it’s generally not in your best interest to accept this offer without first talking to a California attorney.
The Insurance Company Doesn’t Care About Your Needs as an Injured Victim
The only reason that an insurance company seeks to resolve a personal injury case as quickly as possible is because it wants to save money. It knows that a typical injured victim will experience a variety of negative emotions immediately after an accident such as fear and anxiety.
These emotions may interfere with your ability to process the terms of any offer presented to you in a rational manner. Furthermore, it may hinder your ability to comprehend the implications of accepting that offer.
Ultimately, accepting the first offer that you receive allows an insurance company to protect its shareholders and executives at your expense. In addition to saving money on the final payout in the matter, this entity saves money on legal fees and other expenses related to the case.
Do You Know What Types of Compensation That You’re Entitled To?
Perhaps the best reason to hire a California PI lawyer is that he or she will be able to tell you the various types of compensation that you may be entitled to receive. For instance, you could receive cash from the person who hurt you to make up for a loss of consortium with your spouse. A loss of consortium refers to the fact that your emotional or physical connection to that person may be irreparably damaged because of injuries experienced in an accident.
You may also receive a financial award to help refurbish your home or car so that you can still use them despite your injuries. Furthermore, you may obtain a financial award for emotional distress caused by a defendant’s negligent actions. You may be a victim of emotional distress if you have frequent nightmares about an accident or trouble going back to the location where it occurred.
This is in addition to reimbursement for lost wages, lost future earnings or any medical bills that you have incurred. In fact, a final settlement may also include cash that can be used to pay any future medical bills related to your accident injuries.
If you don’t talk to a California attorney prior to accepting an insurance company’s offer, you could leave a significant amount of money on the table. This could make it harder to tend to your medical needs, provide for your family or otherwise retain the standard of living that you had before getting hurt.
An Attorney Can Coach You Through the Insurance Claims Process
The insurance claims process can be a confusing one even for those who have worked in the medical field. Typically, you are expected to file a claim for damages with your own insurance company for any costs incurred after an accident. This is true despite the fact that the person who caused your injuries will be the one who likely covers those expenses.
A California PI attorney will likely work with your auto, medical or other insurance providers to ensure that claims are filed in an accurate and timely manner. Your legal representative may also be able to make sure that medical service providers don’t seek payment for services rendered until after your case is resolved. In addition to providing you with financial flexibility, it can also help to ensure that you obtain timely treatment since you won’t have to worry about how to pay for it.
Obtaining treatment in a timely manner could minimize the long-term damage caused by a concussion, brain bleed or other types of internal bleeding. In some cases, seeking care quickly after an accident may make it possible to treat your injuries without the need for surgery or a long hospital stay.
An Attorney Can Help You Avoid Mistakes That Could Undermine Your Case
There is no guarantee that you will receive a favorable outcome in your case. However, hiring competent legal counsel may minimize the risk of making mistakes that could reduce your chances of failing to obtain the compensation that you may be entitled to.
For example, an attorney may coach you through the process of giving a statement to your insurance company or the defendant’s attorney. Ideally, you won’t say anything that could imply that you were liable for a car accident, slip-and-fall incident or any other event that resulted in serious injuries. Your attorney may also ensure that you don’t post anything to social media sites that could be used against you during settlement talks or at trial.
Finally, a legal representative will ensure that a lawsuit is filed before the statute of limitations expires. Failing to take such a step essentially bars you from taking your case to court. If you can’t take your case to court, the defendant in your case has no incentive to negotiate a deal that is to your liking. In fact, there may be no incentive to agree to any sort of deal at all.
Are There Any Potential Benefits to Accepting an Initial Offer?
While it’s generally not a good idea to accept an insurance company’s initial offer, it’s within your rights to do so. Therefore, it’s worth exploring some of the potential benefits of making such a decision. Perhaps the best reason to take the first offer that you receive is that it allows you to spend more time focusing on your recovery and less time on legal issues.
It may also be worth accepting an initial offer if you think that you’ll be able to fully recover from your injuries in a timely and predictable manner. For example, if you break your hand in a car crash, you should be able to fully recover from that injury in a few weeks. Therefore, an offer that includes compensation for medical bills incurred to treat that injury may be worth taking without hesitation.
It’s important to have an attorney take a look at any proposal before you accept it. This is true even if you plan on taking the deal against the advice of your California PI lawyer. Doing so ensures that you fully understand what you are doing and fully understand the implications of your decision.
It’s also important to note that legal representatives generally offer free consultations to personal injury victims. Therefore, going over an insurance company’s offer with one of our attorney’s will cost you nothing but a few minutes of your time.