A car crash can leave you hospitalized and unable to work or fend for yourself for a considerable while. Given that the bills don’t stop coming despite your situation, an early settlement offer by the insurer may seem tempting. However, you need to be careful before accepting such an offer.
Like any other business, insurance companies are out to make money. Their primary goal is to close claims for as little as possible. You may receive an offer to settle early in the hopes that you will accept it without fully understanding the value of your claim.
The potential consequences of accepting an early settlement offer
An offer to settle made soon after an accident seems convenient since you will not have to do much or wait long to get compensated. However, you may stand to lose out in the end. Here is why.
First, you may settle for less than you deserve. As mentioned, initial settlement offers have the insurer’s financial interests at heart. As such, an early offer might not include damages like lost wages, emotional anguish or pain and suffering.
Second, accepting an offer means giving up the right to seek additional compensation. Since your claim is essentially closed when you agree to settle, there is little you can do if your condition worsens or you require medical treatment that you did not anticipate.
Protect your rights and interests after a car accident
Before accepting any settlement offer, it is advisable to understand what you are entitled to in compensation. It means assessing all your damages, economic and non-economic, to get an estimate of the value of your claim. You shouldn’t feel forced accept an offer that is below what you deserve.
Most importantly, consider having legal representation when negotiating with the insurer to understand your options if you cannot reach a settlement agreement.