Over 400,000 personal injury claims are filed every year in the United States. As many of these people can probably attest, dealing with an insurance company is one of the more frustrating aspects of doing so. Unfortunately, many victims do not know that they are under no obligation to accept a settlement offer made by the insurance company. In fact, accepting an offer too soon could be detrimental because it might not be enough to cover the full spectrum of your injuries and other damages. Since their main goal is to save their company as much money as possible, insurance adjusters seldom open with a fair offer. The Portsmouth personal injury lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp will not let the insurance company pressure you into making a hasty and uninformed decision. We can thoroughly examine your case, calculate the full potential value of your damages, and help you decide whether or not the settlement offer you received is appropriate. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.
Why Do Insurance Companies Offer Settlements So Quickly?
Although receiving a prompt settlement offer might sound like a good thing, it is rarely beneficial for the victim. Offering a quick, up-front settlement is a tactic commonly employed by insurance companies to reduce their financial liability and capitalize on your vulnerability before you have a chance to learn the full extent of your injuries. It is never advisable to accept a settlement offer until you are fully recovered or have a final medical prognosis from your healthcare provider.
Can I Change My Mind if I Already Accepted an Early Settlement Offer?
Once you accept an offer from the insurance company, your claim is closed. You will not be able to seek any further compensation, even if you find out you require additional medical treatments or ongoing care. Generally speaking, paperwork has to be signed for an offer to be officially accepted, but in some cases, verbal agreements can be binding. If you have concerns about a settlement offer you received or you are being strongarmed into making a fast decision, you have the right to tell the insurance adjuster:
- You do not currently have enough information to make an informed decision; ·
- Your Portsmouth personal injury lawyers will be in touch when you know the scope of your injuries.
How Will I Know If My Settlement Offer Is Fair?
Calculating the value of your injuries and other damages can be challenging. The value of your claim hinges on multiple factors including:·
- The type of accident that led to your injuries
- The severity and longevity of your injuries and how they impact your career, family, and day-to-day life
- Your accident-related expenses such as hospital bills, lost earnings, future medical treatments, and pain and suffering
- Other compensable expenses arising from your accident
- The potential for a defense of pure contributory negligence if you materially contributed to causing the incident involved
- How much evidence exists (and the nature of available evidence) to support your claim
An accurate appraisal of your damages is vital to your claim because it gives you a benchmark for a fair settlement. Your attorney will be able to collect strong evidence that demonstrates your current and anticipated losses resulting from your accident including diagnostic reports, medical records, expert testimony, and paystubs.
What Happens if I Reject a Settlement Offer?
A settlement offer is just that: an offer and rejecting it does not waive your right to compensation. If you counter-offer, it effectively kills off the prior offer under the law. Your Portsmouth personal injury lawyer can help you with this.
Unsurprisingly, those who are not familiar with the negotiation process can find settlement negotiations confusing and overwhelming; a fact that the insurance company will not hesitate to use to its advantage. This is one of the many times when you can benefit from working with a skilled injury attorney. We have the knowledge and training to continue negotiations on your behalf until a fair settlement is reached or until the insurer refuses to continue negotiating. In this case, you and your attorney can make the decision to file a lawsuit.
Did You Receive an Early Settlement Offer?
Whether you have received a settlement offer you suspect is unfair, or if you have reached an impasse with your insurance adjuster, you need to consult with an experienced injury lawyer from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp to discuss your claim. We can advise you on whether the compensation you are asking for is fair and whether the settlement offer you received reflects your damages. That is exactly what we did for one client when we secured him a $150,000 jury verdict after the insurance company refused to fairly compensate him for a pre-existing condition that was exacerbated by a hit-and-run driver.
Schedule a free consultation with one of our Portsmouth personal injury lawyers by filling out our online contact form or by calling (833) 997-1774. We have offices in Portsmouth, Hampton, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, and Chesapeake.