You were in a wreck that wasn’t your fault. You’re injured and — quite naturally — worried about the effect that all those medical bills and the time off work will have on your finances and your family. It’s a relief, then, when the culpable party’s insurance company calls quickly and offers an early settlement.
Unfortunately, you cannot put your trust in the insurance adjuster’s apparent good will. They have one job, and it’s saving their company money. Calling you with an early settlement offer is just one of many ways to achieve that.
Why should you be suspicious of an offer to settle?
There are several reasons you should take a step back and take a hard look at what’s actually happening. In most cases, insurance companies only make a quick settlement offer when:
- They know their insured driver was at fault for the wreck and your injuries.
- Your injuries are clearly related to the wreck and there’s little likelihood they can deny liability by saying that you had a pre-existing condition.
- They are worried about the eventual long-term consequences of the wreck and would like you to accept payment now, before you have a chance to realize that you may have permanent damage.
In short, their offer is likely to be quite low compared to what your claim is actually worth — and they know it.
How can a personal injury attorney help you?
It takes an experienced advocate to understand exactly how your claim should be valued — and what kind of settlement offer is fair. In many cases, however, the insurance company expects their initial offer to be met with a counteroffer — and that’s where the real negotiations begin.