After an accident, it can be tempting to accept the first settlement offered by an insurance company. You may be in financial straits and unsure about the next steps to take. It is important to keep in mind that insurance companies are not on your side and will try to offer as little compensation as possible. Before you give a statement, sign anything, or accept a settlement, it is vital to speak to a personal injury lawyer who can assess your case and advise you of your options.
The Insurance Adjuster
Is Not Your Friend The top priority of an insurance adjuster is to protect the insurance company’s interests. This means they may try to pressure you into accepting a minimal settlement before you even know the extent of your injuries and the long-term impact they may have on your life. They may take advantage of injured victims’ vulnerability and will often try to twist your words to pin fault on you instead of their insured. If an insurance adjuster contacts you for a statement, you do not have to speak to them right away. Politely decline to speak with them and call an accident lawyer.
If You Accept a Settlement, You Have No Further Recourse
Accepting and signing a settlement agreement releases the insurer from liability, so you will not be able to recover additional compensation down the road. A good car accident attorney will evaluate your claim, estimate what it may be worth, and advise you on how to protect your rights. When they assess the circumstances of your accident and injuries, they may also discover additional sources of compensation that you may not be aware you could pursue. If you proceed with your case, they will handle all negotiations on your behalf.
What Happens If I Don’t Accept a Settlement Offer?
Just because you reject a settlement offer does not mean that your case will go to trial right away. Litigation can be a costly and lengthy process, so insurance companies prefer to reach settlement agreements outside of the courtroom. Attempting to negotiate a settlement on your own will most likely result in minimal compensation or no recovery at all. Personal injury attorneys are familiar with insurance companies’ tactics and are there to fight for your interests and maximize the amount of settlements or court judgments. Although there are cases in which an injured victim may have to take their case to court, they are few and far between.
Personal Injury Lawyers Work on Contingency
You really have nothing to lose when you contact an attorney after an accident. Personal injury law firms take clients on contingency, which means you will not pay attorney fees until and unless they recover compensation for you. Your initial consultation is free, even if they decide not to move forward with your case. Another benefit of hiring a lawyer is that it takes a big weight off of your shoulders, which allows you and your family to concentrate on your healing and recovery.
If you or a loved one has been hurt due to someone else’s negligence, you don’t have to go it alone. Contact a personal injury attorney for a free case evaluation. If you have lost a loved one in an accident, an estate attorney can help you sort-out the legal issues that may come next if you recover compensation in a wrongful death claim.