Should I Accept a Settlement Offer from the Insurance Company?

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Should I Accept a Settlement Offer from the Insurance Company?

Should I Accept a Settlement Offer from the Insurance Company?After an accident or injury, the insurance adjuster for the other party might contact you about a settlement offer. Generally, New York personal injury laws hold the at-fault party liable for damages they cause. However, insurance companies often undervalue damages to save money.

At some point, the claims adjuster will offer you a settlement for your personal injury claim. However, it is essential to know that once you sign a final settlement agreement, you give up your right to file a lawsuit to seek compensation for damages you might not have known about when you settled the claim. 

What Should I Do About the Settlement Offer?

What Should I Do About the Settlement Offer?If the insurance company offers to settle a car accident case, it must believe that its insured driver is at-fault for the cause of the accident. However, that does not mean the company is offering you a fair settlement amount. Generally, even when the company accepts liability for the claim, it offers the lowest amount it believes you might accept.

Before you accept the settlement offer, consider these this factor:

Therefore, you cannot file a lawsuit seeking damages from another party. You cannot demand more money because you discover you sustained a permanent injury you did not know about when you accepted the settlement offer. Even if the settlement offer is far below the actual value of your claim, you are bound by the terms of the settlement agreement. 

Before accepting the settlement offer, have a lawyer review the offer and your case. An attorney can analyze your case honestly and tell you whether the offer is fair or grossly undervalued. 

When Should I Accept a Settlement Offer from the Insurance Company?

Not all personal injury cases require hiring a lawyer to handle the claim. There could be cases in which you might want to accept a settlement offer. Those situations could include:

  • The insurance company accepts all liability for the cause of your injury
  • You made a full recovery from your accident injuries
  • The settlement pays 100% of your medical expenses and bills for medical treatment
  • You do not require future medical care or treatment
  • Your doctors have been paid in full
  • You can return to work full time
  • The settlement reimburses you for all lost wages
  • You did not sustain permanent impairments, disabilities, scarring, or disfigurement
  • You know the value of your claim, and the settlement is fair

You might consider accepting the settlement offer if you can check all the boxes. However, the risk remains that you might not receive the total value of your damages and losses. 

Insurance companies routinely undervalue claims by using software to calculate what damages should be worth. The problem is that the computer cannot accurately calculate the pain and suffering, loss of personal time, and other non-economic damages a person suffers because of a personal injury. 

Hiring an injury lawyer in New York means you have someone on your side who understands the value of your damages. Someone who aggressively fights to get you the money you deserve. 

Typically, your attorney extends a counteroffer to begin the negotiation process. The process could last several months as your lawyer provides evidence of your expenses and damages. 

Your lawyer might hire an expert witness to provide an opinion explaining the extent of your injuries to increase the value of your claim. Having experts provide opinions regarding the value of damages could support maximum recovery. 

Know Exactly How Much Your Claim Is Worth When You Negotiate With The Insurance Company

Most people understand that they can recover compensation for their economic damages. Economic damages can include:

However, they might not understand they could receive compensation for non-economic damages. Even if they know they can demand these damages, they might still be unsure how to value non-economic damages. 

These damages are subjective because each person suffers differently. Your life before the accident and your prognosis are factors in calculating pain and suffering damages

Non-economic damages include:

  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Emotional distress
  • Disabilities and impairments
  • Mental anguish
  • Physical pain and discomfort
  • A decrease in quality of life
  • Scarring and disfigurement

Many accident victims undervalue their pain and suffering damages. The insurance adjuster knows that most people do not understand the calculations for these damages, so they act as if the settlement offer is generous or even the maximum amount the person could receive for the claim. 

The Issue of Contributory Fault 

If you are partially to blame for the cause of a car crash or other accident, your compensation could be reduced under New York’s contributory fault laws. Likewise, if you failed to seek prompt medical care or took steps to mitigate your damages, the value of your claim could decrease.

An insurance company might try to use this defense in cases where they do not apply. For example, the insurance adjuster might try to shift some of the blame for a slip and fall accident to you to lower the settlement amount. If you are unaware of the laws governing premises liability and contributory fault, you might believe the settlement offer is the most money you could receive for your claim. 

Injury lawyers consider all factors when calculating your damages. They complete a thorough investigation to gather evidence establishing causation and fault. They will consider every element of the case when deciding whether the settlement offer is fair. 

Do Not Run Out of Time for Your Personal Injury Claim

Another insurance tactic the insurance company may use is stalling. The company might believe if it drags out the negotiation process, you might give in and accept a low settlement offer. 

It could also hope the statute of limitations (deadlines) for filing lawsuits expires before you settle your claim. If so, you lose the right to pursue a legal claim against the at-fault party. 

It is typically better to wait until your doctor tells you that you have reached maximum medical improvement to settle a personal injury case. You cannot understand the severity of your injuries and the extent of your damages until you complete medical treatment. If you allow the statute of limitations to expire, the other party cannot be held liable for your damages.

Therefore, it is best to talk with a lawyer as soon as possible. Note, however, that there are exceptions to the statutes of limitations that could shorten some deadlines. 

Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Personal Injury Lawyers

Before accepting a settlement offer from the insurance company, let the Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers review the offer to ensure it is a fair amount for your damages. Contact our law firm to schedule your free case review at (212) 564 2800.