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Why Not to Accept the Initial Insurance Settlement Offer

When you get into a car accident, you may be become injured. Your car could need repairs and your personal belongings might get ruined. Damages such as  medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering could total thousands of dollars.

To recover these damages, you’ll need to communicate with the defendant’s insurance company. They may not offer you a suitable settlement the first time around, but you don’t understand why. Don’t you deserve the compensation to cover your bills since the accident was not your fault?

Learning about why insurance companies offer low settlements and then finding a personal injury attorney to negotiate for you are going to be your best course of action. Then, you’ll have a much better chance of getting the compensation that is rightfully yours.

Why You Shouldn’t Accept the First Offer

Insurance companies are not in the business of handing out large settlements. Instead, they try to settle for as little as possible, even if they realize that you likely deserve more.

They may try to get away with giving you as little as possible, and they’re counting on you being too frazzled after your accident and simply wanting closure rather than thinking clearly. That’s why they’ll call you up pretty soon after your accident occurs. You’re in a fragile place, and you may be more likely to accept something from them because you believe it’s that or nothing. They are also relying on the fact that you may be ignorant about the law and not want to get into a fight or have to negotiate.

The settlement may seem like it’s enough. Perhaps, at that point in time, it seems you only experienced whiplash or you have some back pain. How much is that going to cost you? A few hundred bucks? Won’t your insurance cover it?

The truth of the matter is you don’t know much your injuries are going to cost you in the long run. Your back pain or whiplash or other injuries could get worse. If your car needs repairs, it could cost a lot more than you expect. You might have to go to multiple doctor appointments for months and have to take time off work, which would result in you losing wages. If your injuries are serious, you could experience pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment if you aren’t able to work at your job or participate in your favorite activities anymore.

You just never know what could happen, which is why it’s best not to accept the first offer. If you do accept it, you won’t be able to claim damages later on, so you’ll be stuck paying your bills.

Further, you may not know, and the insurance company won’t tell you, that you’ll likely have to repay your medical insurance or providers for all the treatment you have received once you settle with the insurance company.  Yes, even if you have insurance, you will likely have to repay your insurance company out of any settlement for the treatment that was provided.  You’ll want to make sure any settlement accounts for this!

How to Speak to the Insurance Company After Your Accident

When an adjuster from the defendant’s insurance company calls you, they will ask you a few things, including details about what happened and the extent of your injuries. Don’t offer them too much information. It’s fine to confirm that the accident happened, the time, date and location of the accident and which vehicles were involved. But don’t mention anything about your injuries other than to confirm that you were injured.  Simply tell them that you have, or are looking for, an attorney and you will be happy to provide a statement with your attorney present.

If they want to record the phone call, don’t let them. They aren’t legally obligated to record it.

You should also ask the adjuster for their name and business telephone number, and take notes about what happened on the phone call once you hang up. Of course, if they offer you a settlement, do not accept it.

After that, make sure that you get in contact with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

How a Personal Injury Attorney Could Help

A personal injury attorney could help you get a settlement that will cover damages like your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and more depending on the circumstances of your case.

They will contact the insurance company to negotiate with them so you don’t have to get involved. All you have to do is provide them with any evidence you have so that they have proof that the defendant was responsible for your accident.

You’ll also need to get treatment for as long you need it. Don’t stop your treatment until you are completely healed. You should try to get your treatment through your health insurance but, if you don’t have health insurance, your attorney may be able to refer you to medical providers who will agree to treat you on a lien basis.

You won’t pay anything unless your lawyer wins your settlement, and you can always ask your lawyer to renegotiate if you believe the settlement is not high enough. Since lawyers work on commission, they will only take a case on if they are confident they can win.

When searching for a personal injury attorney, go in for a consultation and provide them with any evidence you have collected. Let them know if there is a police report or you have medical records they can help you gather. You can let your lawyer take the reins so that you can go to your doctors’ appointments and concentrate on getting better as fast as possible. With a lawyer’s help, you will be able to put your accident behind you and move forward with your life.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney

If you’re ready to initiate your personal injury case, then call the personal injury attorneys at Heiting & Irwin at 951-682-6400, or contact our office online to schedule a free consultation as soon as possible. We can get you the compensation you deserve.

The only past President of the State Bar of California ever elected from the Inland Empire, James Heiting handles civil litigation matters throughout California, recovering over $400 million for clients, dealing with wrongful death, serious injury, professional malpractice and transportation accidents. Also past President of Riverside’s County Bar, his firm has served the Inland Empire for over 30 years. View Attorney James Otto Heiting's Attorney Bio Here.

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