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Should I Accept The First Settlement Offer From An Insurance Company?

Should I Accept The First Settlement Offer From An Insurance Company?

If you were recently injured in an unexpected accident, you might be anxious to settle your claim to get the money you need to pay your medical bills, fix your car, and recover lost income. You might be wondering, “Should I accept the insurance company’s settlement offer?” 

If you were injured because of the negligence of another party, you may have the right to compensation for your economic and non-economic losses. However, there is a lot that goes into a personal injury claim. Accurately determining the value of your claim is essential to knowing whether or not you should accept a settlement offer. 

Insurance Adjusters Make Low Initial Offers

The first thing to keep in mind about this issue is that insurance adjusters are hired and paid by the insurance company. They represent the insurance company’s interests, not yours. As such, their goal is to get you to settle your case for as little money as possible. 

One way insurance adjusters accomplish this objective is to make a quick settlement offer in hopes you will take it before you have a chance to consult with a lawyer. They are counting on you being desperate and accepting this offer so they can save money. 

Insurance Companies Blame You for the Accident

Another way insurance companies may reduce your compensation is by blaming you for the accident. If you are more than 50% at fault for an accident, they can deny your claim because you are not entitled to compensation for such accidents due to Florida’s modified comparative fault law. If it’s not possible to blame the entire accident on you, they will try to shift as much blame as possible because you are not entitled to that portion of compensation under this law. For example, if you are 20% at fault for an accident, your compensation is reduced by 20%. 

Settlement Agreements Are Binding

Another important consideration when thinking about accepting a settlement is that you can forfeit your right to seek additional compensation if you settle your claim. As a condition of receiving the insurance company’s money, you have to sign a release agreeing not to pursue additional compensation for the claim. So, once you settle your case, it’s usually final, even if you later learn about injuries or expenses you weren’t aware of at the time you settled your case. 

The insurance company’s first offer is seldom their best offer. They expect to negotiate, so demanding more compensation might result in a higher settlement. 

Why Waiting To Settle May Make Sense

While accepting a settlement offer and receiving the money you need promptly may be tempting, it may be in your best interest to wait. Your lawyer may recommend that you wait until you reach maximum medical improvement before you attempt to settle your claim. This is the point at which you have recovered as much as can be expected by your medical providers, and your medical condition has stabilized. 

This is the point when your lawyer can more accurately estimate the value of your claim by considering factors such as:

  • The medical expenses you have incurred for the condition
  • The future medical expenses you will likely incur
  • The duration of your medical expenses
  • The amount of wages you have lost 
  • The extent that your injuries can impact your long-term earning capacity
  • The severity of your pain and suffering
  • How the injuries will likely affect your life

Knowing these details can help your lawyer determine a fair amount of compensation for your case.

A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You Determine When to Accept a Settlement

Fortunately, you do not have to make all these tough decisions like whether to accept the  insurance company’s first offer alone. A knowledgeable attorney can review any offer you have received and advise you whether it is fair, given your particular situation. If the offer is not fair, your lawyer can demand more money to properly compensate you for your injuries. 

Contact the Tampa Car Accident Law Firm of Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers for Help Today

For more information, please contact Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation with a car accident lawyer in Tampa today. We have five convenient locations in Florida, including Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, New Port Richey, and Lakeland.

We proudly serve Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, Polk County, and its surrounding areas:

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – Tampa Office
601 W Swann Ave, Tampa, FL 33606
(813) 223-6200

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater Office
600 Bypass Dr Suite 224-D, Clearwater, FL 33764
(727) 493-4418

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – St. Petersburg Office
111 2nd Ave NE Suite 350, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 314-5988

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – New Port Richey Office
5006 Trouble Creek Rd Unit #200, Port Richey, FL 34652
(727) 910-5060

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – Lakeland Office
1543 Lakeland Hills Blvd Suite 18, Lakeland, FL 33805
(863) 251-6196

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