Although we may take all the necessary precautions we can think of, accidents can happen at the drop of a hat—especially when you add vehicles and other drivers into the mix. If you ever find yourself dealing with the aftermath of a car accident, you may think the insurance company has your best interests at heart and will gladly fork over more than enough money to cover your damages and medical bills. However, this is unfortunately not always the case; in fact, it’s rarely the case. It’s a given that your insurance company will present you with a settlement offer of some dollar amount after you file a claim, but should you accept it? Before you say, “Yes,” it’s important to know a bit more about what goes into those settlement offers from the insurance company’s perspective.
Low-End Settlement Offers Are Common
While it’s essential to have car insurance, you need to keep in mind insurance companies are businesses that are in the game to make money. That’s not to say they aren’t helpful; just not as helpful as they could be, in many cases. When it comes to auto accidents, insurance adjusters work to settle claims within a given dollar amount range, and they rarely—if ever—start midrange or higher. They’ll start from the low end of the spectrum as a means of settling at the cheapest dollar amount to ensure the insurance company’s pockets stay as full as possible. This fact alone makes it foolhardy to accept the first offer the adjuster sends your way—even if the amount appears to be substantial.
What Your Settlement Offer Should Take into Account
When calculating a car accident settlement, the insurance adjuster takes a number of factors into account, such as:
- Damage to the vehicles involved
- Cost of medical bills
- Any resulting disability
- Time off work
- Emotional damage
- Projected costs of recovery
- Prescription costs
- Gas mileage to and from doctors’ appointments
- Physical therapy time and costs
- Plus a number of other factors
It’s also important to know insurance companies are known to overemphasize your degree of fault in an auto accident as a means of underpaying your claim. With so many factors going into settlement claims, coupled with underhanded insurance company tactics, it’s a good idea to consult with a personal injury attorney from the get-go to ensure you receive the amount of compensation to which you’re entitled.
Should You Contact an Attorney?
In a word, yes. If you are hurt in a car accident, even if you believe your injuries are minor, it is always wise to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. He or she knows the ins and outs of dealing with insurance companies and working on clients’ behalf to get them the maximum amount of compensation the deserve.
When you reach out to Bill Kennedy Law following a car accident, we can help by giving you access to any necessary treatment, tests (e.g., MRIs, CT scans, etc.) and surgery without you having to pay upfront. Plus, with our personal injury attorneys at your side, you’re much more likely to get a higher settlement from your insurance company than you would by going it alone. So say, “No,” to the insurance company’s first settlement offer, and be sure to contact Bill Kennedy for assistance.