You may be tempted to accept the first offer from an insurer to settle your personal injury claim. It could be due to financial pressure, lack of information or a fear of the legal process. However, a rush to settle is seldom advisable.
Accepting the first settlement offer from an insurer can be a mistake, especially when you realize what you settled for is inadequate to cover all your damages. Remember, you cannot request additional compensation once you accept a settlement since the insurance company will require you to sign a release that absolves them from further liability.
Understand the value of your claim
Before hurriedly accepting a settlement, it helps to have a clear picture of the harm and losses you suffered. Look beyond the present damages, such as lost wages, property damage and medical expenses. Consider the potential future implications of your injuries on your career, health and even your quality of life.
Understanding your recoverable damages will help inform the value of your personal injury claim. With such information, you will avoid settling for less than you deserve, and it can also help effectively negotiate a suitable settlement. The longer negotiations go on, the more incentive the insurance company has to make a fair offer.
Understand your legal options
You do not have to accept an initial settlement offer that does not meet your expectations. You can reject it and force the insurer back to the drawing board.
It’s important to note that it’s always wisest to have experienced legal guidance during your negotiations. This is not a “do-it-yourself” type of situation. An informed assessment of the strengths or weaknesses of your case can help you decide what steps to take next.