5 Things to Know about Insurance Company Settlement Offers

Posted in Car Accident on December 22, 2017

When people are involved in auto accidents, they’re not only hurting and potentially disabled—they’re also facing expensive medical bills and long periods away from work. Having a stack of medical bills on the coffee table with no way to pay for them can quickly put any family in a major financial crisis.

Many auto accident victims get settlement offers from insurance companies when they weren’t at fault for their accidents. In many cases, those offers arrive quickly. Faced with desperation and even panic over what they’re going to do about their accident-related expenses and lost income, many victims accept those settlements without hesitation. However, those settlements are often intentionally offered quickly to take advantage of victims when they’re still in shock and worrying about how they’re going to keep their families’ heads above water.

At Matt Hardin Law, our Nashville auto accident lawyers have 30 years of experience helping injured victims get the compensation they deserve, and we know that initial settlement offers are rarely, if ever, sufficient to cover all car accident-related costs. Let us help you get the money you need.

We’ll build a strong claim on your behalf by collecting evidence that proves you weren’t at fault and clearly illustrates how the accident affected you and your loved ones. Don’t wait to get the help you deserve. Call us today at (615) 200-1111 or complete a free online consultation form.

What Should You Know about Initial Settlement Offers?

At our law firm, we speak with many clients every week who tell us they’ve already been contacted by the insurance company shortly after their accidents. When we review the offers they were given, we can quickly tell that they’re almost always significantly less than what the victims deserve. Unless you’ve needed a settlement in the past, you’re unlikely to know that an initial offer isn’t the end-all, be-all of compensation.

In addition, you may be unaware of the following facts:

  1. Initial settlement offers are almost always “lowball” offers.

As an auto accident victim, you may be highly susceptible to “sticker shock.” That means your first round of medical bills may leave you stunned and desperate for a way to avoid eating into your savings or using credit cards to stay on top of them. Insurance companies know that victims and their families are often desperate for cash, especially when they’re unable to work. That’s why they offer lump sums soon after accidents. However, those lump sums are almost never enough to cover all of the initial expenses, let alone future expenses.

  1. Once you accept a settlement offer, you can’t ask for more later.

Settlements are one-time-only events. That means after you’ve accepted a settlement from the insurance company, there are no do-overs or second chances. What you get the first time around is what you’ll have to rely on to make ends meet for the foreseeable future. And while it’s tempting to take the money right now—especially when you’re looking at expensive medical bills and extended time away from work—waiting to get a better settlement from the insurance company can help you for many years into the future instead of just right now.

  1. Your injuries can change and worsen, as can your medical costs.

What looks like simple, one-time fix injuries can change into more dramatic complications as months pass after your accident. In some cases, car accident victims suffer internal injuries that aren’t apparent or noticeable for days, weeks, or even months after their crashes. Those injuries may require surgery, rehabilitation, and prolonged hospital visits—all of which are extremely expensive. And if you accept a settlement in the days or weeks after your auto accident, post-accident complications won’t be factored into it, leaving you without a way to pay for those treatments.

  1. Being unable to work may be the biggest accident-related expense you face.

Medical bills can be eye-opening and shocking, especially if you’ve never needed emergency care, surgery, or overnight stays at the hospital. But in most cases, medical bills pale in comparison to the financial hit you’ll take if your accident puts you out of work indefinitely. Some auto accident victims suffer injuries that leave them permanently disabled, costing them their livelihoods and their sources of income for keeping their families fed, clothed, and sheltered. It’s essential that the insurance company knows if your injuries affected your career that way, and we’ll make sure they’re aware of the accident’s effects on your ability to work and earn a living.

  1. Pain and suffering often aren’t taken into account.

When the insurance company offers you a settlement, it primarily looks at two expenses: short-term lost wages and short-term medical bills. But as auto accident victims know, financial impacts are just one small part of the life-changing consequences of a serious crash. You may be in debilitating pain and be unable to enjoy your favorite hobbies or spending time with friends and family, let alone work. You also may develop depression, anxiety, and other psychological disorders, especially if the accident was highly traumatic or resulted in the death of a loved one. Our legal team will include all of the ways the accident affected your life when we prepare a claim on your behalf.

It’s important to remember that insurance companies are in business to make money—not offer fair settlement offers to innocent victims. They employ teams of adjusters whose sole job is to reduce or even outright deny claims to people who were hurt because of others’ negligence. Our job is to level the playing field for people like you and help them maximize their chances of receiving the compensation they deserve for what they’ve been through.