No one likes to be injured in a car accident. But if you are hurt in a car crash, don’t take the first settlement offer you are given. Contact an experienced Houston lawyer before you accept any offer.
Why is the insurance company taking so long?
It is all a matter of time, and how much time has passed since you were hurt in a car accident sets whether you have heard from the insurance company. If you have contacted the insurance company and given notice of your injury, but have not heard from anyone at the insurance company yet, you likely will soon. Insurance providers know when their insured policyholder is at-fault and the one who is responsible for the car accident. Insurance companies react by using the time they have to try to pay as little as possible to any injured claimant, because they have no other motivation or incentive to settle with an injured claimant.
Here are a reasons the insurance company will delay paying on a property damage claim:
- First, the insurance company will save money by undervaluing your property damage claim.
- Second, by repeatedly making low settlement offers, the insurance company knows it can frustrate someone who is seeking a good and reasonable settlement offer. For example, if you are hurt in a car accident with a value of $100,000, the insurance company may make the first settlement offer for $10,000. After some time passes and settlement negotiations begin, the insurance company may make a second offer for $20,000, and then repeat. It can take years and for the injured claimant to make five or so more claims before finally paying the full amount of a settlement.
- Third, by making a low value offer on a property damage claim, insurance companies can undermine the value of the bodily injury claim. As one of several tactics, insurance companies may hire an expert to convince a judge and jury that because the car accident only caused low-impact damage to property, then the bodily damage is also minor. Of course, the right personal injury lawyers know how to combat these tactics and can find the right studies to counter these expert opinions.
Should I accept the insurance company’s first offer?
You may not want to accept the first settlement offer that comes to you, despite the fact it came easily and early to you. This is because the first settlement offer is likely a lower amount than what the value of the claim is worth. Hoping that the injured claimant just wants to get the whole process over with, insurance companies play on an injured claimant’s need for time and money by making a low-value offer (even if insurance companies really believe the claim is worth more money). Insurance companies make go out of their way to make the first offer tempting and simple for you, sending you papers right away and agreeing to pay you quickly.
Key Tip: If an injured claimant or car accident victim accepts an early and low value settlement offer, he or she gives up the chance to get a higher offer later on because accepting an offer means he or she also waives the right to compensation in the future. This also means that once you accept a settlement offer, you cannot sue.
By signing a settlement agreement, you agree not to come back asking for more money later and not to file an insurance lawsuit after. If you end up needing more medical treatment after you accept a low settlement offer, you will be stuck with what you agreed to receive.
While it is never a guarantee that an insurance company will settle, some indicators that might show that they are not eager to settle is when the insurance company believes that:
- The injured claimant’s injuries are not as bad as he or she claims,
- The injured claimant is unreasonable, not willing to work with the insurance company, and/or
- The injured claimant is stuck at one number and will not negotiate.
Understand many the factors that go into determining your settlement’s value.
There are many types of damages an injured driver and claimant can receive after being hurt in a car accident. Often, insurance companies will only give you a fraction of what your claim’s value is actually worth. Recognizing the true value of the damages is difficult because it involves both legal and medical expertise. What a good settlement offer is depends on each case’s unique circumstances, injuries, medical bills, property damage and more. Car accident lawyers are experts in finding out the value of your case, and can help an injured claimant recover the maximum amount of damages.
Even if you file a lawsuit, it does not mean settlement negotiations will just end. Settlement negotiations continue all the way through trial. For all of these reasons, you should always contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible so that you know you are not accepting a settlement for less than what you deserve. Settle on your own terms.
Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer
Navigating complex personal injury cases and handling insurance companies can make the recovery process even more difficult. Experienced attorneys strategically weigh the cost and benefits of each case to minimize the time and expense involved while maximizing their clients’ compensation.
Are you trying to secure your financial recovery with the help of experienced attorneys? If so, we can help.
The Pusch & Nguyen Law Firm has helped countless Texans handle their insurance disputes. Our experienced trial lawyers have gone up against some of the biggest names in the insurance industry while successfully bringing home payouts for clients. Our successful reputation speaks for itself, and with offices in both Houston and San Antonio, we are well equipped to assist Texans who are in dire need of our services. Register online for a free case evaluation or call us today at 713-528-8108 (Houston) or 210-702-3000 to schedule an appointment with a member of our team.