Thinking of Accepting the Initial Settlement Offer from the Insurance Company?
After a car accident, the at-fault party’s insurance company may be quick to offer a settlement to seemingly compensate you for the cost of your injuries. Some insurance companies may seem to suggest it is a “now or never” settlement offer. You do not have to accept their offer. They may also try to talk you out of consulting with a lawyer by telling you that it’s not necessary to hire an attorney and you’ll keep more of the settlement if you don’t have to pay an attorney. This is usually bad advice. From our experience in resolving claims over the past 20-plus years, we find that most of the first offers we receive are very low compared to the actual value of the claims. This has also been confirmed by research conducted by the Insurance Research Council.
While it may be tempting to “take the money and run” when an insurance company offers to cut you a check right away, don’t be fooled. Most often the insurance company is offering you a very low settlement that doesn’t reflect the true value of your claim. These quick offers are usually made just a few days after your accident before you have any idea about the extent of your injuries and your medical prognosis. In most accidents with an injury, it can be 8 – 12 weeks or more before you even know how serious your injuries are and your long-term outlook. So, while some quick cash in hand might give you the ability to pay for repairs and some of your medical treatments, it is likely not the fair amount you deserve.
Whether it’s a low offer, or the other party refuses to accept blame for your injuries, you should reach out to a trusted expert, like Todd Smith, that can help you negotiate a fair settlement.
SHOULD I TRUST THE FLORIDA INSURANCE COMPANY?
If you received any medical treatment and are in pain from your accident, it is a good idea to consult with a reputable personal injury attorney. Contacting a qualified lawyer is the best decision you can make when it comes to protecting your legal rights. An experienced personal injury attorney understands that a settlement offer is just the start of the negotiation process with the insurance company.
You want a professional in your corner to advocate for you against the insurance companies that negotiate settlements daily. Along with your attorney, you can determine what money is owed to you. An offer you put forth will have to be backed up by facts, statutes, insurance policy limits, medical records and more; these are the key elements your attorney will assist you with to build your case.
If you don’t accept a personal injury settlement offer and can’t reach an agreement with the insurance company, you will most likely need to file a lawsuit (if you’ve not done so already). There is a statute of limitations for all cases which means your lawsuit must be filed before the expiration of the applicable time period, or your case is barred and can’t be brought. Every state is different, so check with a lawyer in your jurisdiction if you have questions about the statute of limitations. The bottom line is that delays in talking to a lawyer can negatively affect your case, and it’s much easier for the lawyer to prosecute your case if they get started immediately after your accident. Witnesses disappear, records go missing, and all kinds of evidence may be lost, so don’t procrastinate with your injury claim.
IS MY PERSONAL INJURY WORTH MORE THAN THE INSURANCE COMPANY SUGGESTS?
It is impossible to know the exact dollar value of your case. However, you are entitled to damages for past and future medical expenses, past and future lost wages, and pain and suffering. There are many factors that affect the value of your case. We’ve prepared a general guide for valuing Florida accident claims here. Keep in mind, however, that every case is unique. Spinal cord injuries that cause paralysis and traumatic brain injuries, for example, are more common in serious motor vehicle accidents, such as trucking accidents, motorcycle accidents, or accidents involving a pedestrian. Because of the complexity of some cases, it can be more difficult to predict what the settlement value is or what will happen if a case goes to trial. Therefore, you can only make informed decisions based on similar cases by speaking with your attorney.
HOW LONG WILL MY CATASTROPHIC INJURY CASE TAKE?
To get a better understanding of what it takes to resolve your personal injury claim, check out our case timeline here. Remember, this is just a general guide as every case is different. Some cases will get resolved sooner, some longer. You should not rely on these timelines but discuss your specific circumstances with your attorney. Delays in medical treatment, the length of your treatment, and recovery time from your injuries may also change these guidelines. Depending on the response time of your medical providers, insurance companies, and opposing parties, delays may occur that are beyond our control. However, at C. Todd Smith Law, we work diligently to obtain the best result possible as quickly as we can.
GET HELP FROM AN EXPERIENCED FLORIDA ATTORNEY
The decision to accept or reject a personal injury settlement offer can feel overwhelming. For most car accident victims, this is their first, and hopefully, last time they will have to make this decision. The phrase, “You don’t know what you don’t know” couldn’t be truer in an injury claim for a person who’s never been in the situation before. You need the help of an experienced lawyer to help you make the right decision. You only have one chance to get it right and having an attorney like Todd Smith by your side is your best legal option to get the fair compensation you deserve.
For a FREE case evaluation to learn more about what your case might be worth or whether you should refuse a settlement offer you received, contact the C. Todd Smith Law. Visit www.CToddLaw.com or call 407-841-8294 ☎️