After an Accident, Should You Take the Insurance Company’s Settlement Offer?
If you file an accident or injury claim, you may be able to settle that claim out of court. That’s because insurance companies know that going to court will result in higher expenses—and possibly payouts—for them.
But just what are the advantages of settling for you?
Insurance Companies Typically Want to Settle Out of Court
Whenever you are injured in an accident caused by another’s negligence or actions, you have the right to pursue compensation for your injuries and losses through the court system. That means you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the party you believe was negligent in the accident.
In most cases, however, there is an insurance company that may cover your losses. If you slipped and fell at the grocery store, for instance, because the floor was wet and there was no sign warning you, the store’s insurance company is there to help pay for your medical expenses (as long as you can prove that the staff was negligent).
Insurance companies may settle with you rather than go to court because it saves them time and money. It can be better for you to settle as well, as you are likely to get the money you need faster than if you had to wait for the court system to resolve your case.
Of course, you can always choose to take your case to trial. If the insurance company is not willing to compensate you fully for the damages you’ve suffered, going to court may be the right thing to do.
But if you can settle out of court, it’s usually quicker.
No Matter the Type of Accident, You Have the Option of Settling
Sometimes it’s your own insurance that will cover your losses. If you live in a no-fault state, for instance, like Pennsylvania, and you get into a car accident that’s not your fault, you would still file a claim with your own insurance company.
But there are limits to this type of insurance. If you were catastrophically injured, those limits may not provide enough coverage for your medical expenses and ongoing therapy. In that case, you would have the option of filing a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
No matter what the details may be concerning your case and the insurance company you’re working with, that company may want to do everything possible to resolve the claim before it goes to court.
You Can Always Reject a Settlement Offer
Insurance companies, though they would prefer to stay out of court, also prefer to pay as little as possible on each claim. They are concerned about profits and not your well-being.
That means that the first or even second settlement offer you get from your insurance company may be low. You have the option to accept it, but if it’s going to leave you paying for a lot of medical expenses out-of-pocket, you may be better to reject it.
If you have an accident or injury attorney on your side, that person can go back to the insurance company and negotiate on your behalf. He or she may make a counter-offer that seems fairer to you. Settlement negotiations will continue, and the insurance company may give you another offer.
It is easier to get the money you deserve if you have an attorney working for you. Otherwise, the insurance company may try to take advantage of you by offering less than you need.