What If I Say No to the Insurance Company's First Car Accident Settlement Offer?
After you’ve been injured in a car accident and you’ve gone on to file a third-party claim with the at-fault driver’s car insurance provider, expect a call from an insurance agent giving you a low-ball settlement offer. According to a New Jersey car accident lawyer, this is the insurance company’s standard operating procedure, so they can get things over with at the quickest and cheapest way. Don’t make a mistake of falling for the first offer because it is never for your advantage.
The First Offer is Usually a Lowball Offer
There are two critical things about an insurance company’s first offer that car accident victims must understand. One, the first offer is typically a very lowball deal that is never commensurate to your suffering. Second, the first offer is never going to be the only offer the insurance company will make, so don’t be too eager to settle for just a measly amount.
Remember, these insurance companies don’t have your best interest at heart. They are not interested in making sure you get compensated in full for all the losses that you garnered due to your accident. Their only goal is to resolve your claim as fast as they possibly can, in the cheapest way they can get things done.
The first offer is the insurance company’s paltry attempt in getting to trick someone into saying yes. Although anyone agreeing to these cheap terms is an almost impossible scenario, there are still one or two pitiful souls who unknowingly fall victim to the trap. Don’t make the same mistake and always refuse the first offer.
What Happens After the First Offer?
A New Jersey Car accident lawyer said what you must do is to firmly but politely decline the first offer. Almost instantly, the representatives of the insurance company will regroup and return to you with a slightly higher second offer.
After receiving this offer, you will have to discuss the things with your lawyer. He has the all important job of ensuring you get the best possible outcomes. Your lawyer will draft a formal demand letter that will serve as your counter-offer. This is the monetary figure you are willing to consider to fix all the issues, so all parties can move on and start with a clean slate.
The demand letter will also include a description of the accident, highlighting why the insurance company’s covered driver is at fault for the crash. It will also have a detailed summary of all the medical treatment you received along with future estimates like rehab care costs. An itemized list of all the losses you incurred will be included to the letter, too. This ranges from loss of income, car damage, to Uber costs while your car is in the shop for repairs.
On top of that, a summary of how the car accident has affected you mentally will also be a part of it. Accidents impact your life severely causing not just physical and financial distress, but a psychological one. You may feel worried, anxious, sad, and more.
Negotiations and Mediation Finally Begin
Once the insurance company receives your demand letter or counter-offer, this means that negotiation proceedings are on with goal of reaching an amenable settlement that is acceptable for all parties also begins. There will be meetings and discussions to tackle the details of the settlement. When the parties cannot come to terms, mediation through the courts may be necessary. But often, especially when a driver is at-fault, the insurance providers will not want the claims to progress to litigation as it is very costly.
Who Decides When to Settle
Ultimately, the decision about coming to accept the insurance company’s terms rests on you and your lawyer. The lawyer will give you the best advice and will work hard to ensure that you are fairly compensated for all the suffering you experienced in the car accident.