As a driver, each time you slip in the seat behind the wheel you are taking a chance of being in an accident with another driver. You can be driving along safely one minute, and the next thing you know you are right in the middle of a car accident--because even when you do what you can to follow the rules of the road, you cannot account for other people. You are most likely familiar with the fact that after an accident, an insurance company will offer you a settlement for your injuries and the damages to your car. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to accept this offer without first consulting a car accident attorney, such as Hardee and Hardee LLP, for advice. Here are three things you should know before you agree to settle on a certain amount.
Insurance Companies Always Offer the Lowest Possible Settlement First
It is a common belief that insurance companies are designed to protect drivers and while this is true to an extent, when it comes down to the facts, an insurance company is out to make a profit. Therefore, it is common practice to offer the lowest reasonable amount to a claimant first. Sympathy, empathy, and rapport may be the tone you get from a representative, but the proof of their true intentions is concealed in the amount of money these companies usually offer to an injured driver.
What You Have Been Through May be Worth So Much More
It is no secret that your injuries and your vehicle may be worth a lot to you emotionally, but it can be worth a lot to you in monetary terms as well. When a car accident attorney fights to get you the money you deserve in a settlement, there are many factors that can come into play:
- How much time you lost off of work
- How traumatic the injury was, and how much pain and suffering was involved
- What will be involved in your future recovery process
- The damage done to your vehicle
Make sure you do not get shortchanged by accepting a low offer from an insurance company that does not take into consideration all of these facts.
You Do Not Have to Accept the Offer
When the insurance company first offers you a settlement after an accident, they will word it in a way that makes it sound like this is a once-and-done deal -- no negotiating, no questions asked. However, no matter what the insurance company tells you, their offer is not set in stone. It is not even uncommon for an insurance company to try and convince you that reaching out to an attorney is a bad idea because it will just prolong the process.
Anytime you are injured in an auto accident, you should always speak to an attorney before making any definitive agreements about a settlement offer. Even if you feel the offer is fair, there is a good chance you are entitled to more.