Most accident victims are familiar with the fact that the majority of personal injury cases get settled out of court before they reach trial.
Primarily, this is because settling a case provides both sides with certainty and eliminates the risk of going to trial.
From the accident victim’s standpoint, a settlement also means they obtain a quicker resolution to the case and don’t need to put themselves (and their families) through what could be a stressful trial.
However, while settlement offers are common, that doesn’t mean that accident victims should sit back and wait for them.
Settlement negotiations are just one critical stage of the personal injury recovery process.
At Wells Call Injury Lawyers, our California personal injury attorneys have more than 40 years of experience helping our clients obtain the compensation they need and deserve.
Contact us today to get started!
Two Reasons That Insurance Companies Will Offer a Settlement
The first step to knowing what to do when an insurance company offers a settlement is understanding what motivates an insurance company to settle a case. Insurance companies exist to make a profit.
Thus, any action an insurance company takes is in pursuit of that goal.
Insurance companies typically settle cases for a few reasons. The first reason is if the insurance company thinks that it might lose at trial.
If an insurance company takes a case to trial and loses, the jury will almost certainly grant the plaintiff a much higher damages award than what could have been negotiated.
Thus, to avoid the uncertainty of trial and a potentially huge jury verdict, an insurance company may make a settlement offer.
The second reason why an insurance company may settle is if the insurance company believes it will cost more to investigate and prepare the case than to settle it.
This usually comes up when an accident victim asks for a modest amount of compensation. Thus, for the insurance company, it may be easier and less expensive to just settle the case.
In either situation, insurance companies’ initial offers are an attempt to feel out where an accident victim stands.
From the insurance company’s perspective, if it can resolve a case quickly for little money, it’s a win.
However, this practice puts accident victims in a difficult position and often means they end up receiving less money than they deserve.
What Should I Do If an Insurance Company Approaches My Family with a Settlement
If an insurance company approaches you with a settlement offer, here is what you should keep in mind.
The Insurance Company’s First Offer Isn’t Its Final Offer
When an insurance company offers a settlement, it is important to remember that this merely begins the negotiation process.
An insurance company’s first offer is rarely their best—it’s merely the insurance company’s version of throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks.
Thus, as a general rule, accident victims should not accept an insurance company’s first offer without first consulting with an attorney.
Get A Free Consultation With An Attorney
If you are approached with a settlement offer, call a personal injury attorney before you accept it. Attorneys at Wells Call Injury Lawyers can advise you on the offer.
It doesn’t cost you anything, and it can give you some peace of mind before deciding whether to settle.
Don’t Expect the Insurance Company to Budge Without a Good Reason
Just because an insurance company’s initial offer isn’t usually its best doesn’t mean that you should expect the insurance company to bump up its offer without a good reason.
If you received an inadequate initial settlement figure, be prepared to explain why the offer is insufficient.
This includes providing documentation of your damages, such as medical expenses, missed work, and the need for future medical care.
If you have photographs of your injuries or the accident scene, this can help you prove how serious your injuries were.
Be Careful When Speaking to Insurance Company Representatives
Insurance companies are, quite literally, in the business of paying out as little money as possible. Thus, they’ve developed many tricks and tactics that allow them to pay you less than your case is worth.
One such trick involves getting an accident victim to give a statement that the company can later rely on to deny or reduce the value of a claim.
Saying something as simple as, “I’m so sorry the accident happened,” can be construed as an admission.
When talking to an insurance company representative, you have to be very careful what you say. Never make any admissions.
Better yet, decline the company’s request to make a statement at all and tell them you want to speak to your lawyer first.
Then, let your lawyer do your talking for you.
Time Is on the Insurance Company’s Side
Another trick insurance companies use to get accident victims to accept lowball settlement offers is stretching out the claims process.
They know you are hurting financially, and if they can just keep you under financial pressure long enough—they know there’s a good chance you’ll settle for less just to get some financial relief right now.
The problem is that when that money runs out, you can never go back for more, regardless of how much more your injuries cost you.
California’s law provides accident victims with certain rights.
However, insurance companies have ways of acting legally while still pursuing their goal of paying out as little as possible.
Your lawyer knows how to combat these unfair tactics to get you the money you need, when you need it.
Contact an Experienced California Personal Injury Law Firm for Assistance
If you are wondering, “What Should I Do If an Insurance Company Approaches My Family with a Settlement,” the dedicated advocates at Wells Call Injury Lawyers are here to help.
The attorneys at Wells Call Injury Lawyers have 40 years of experience aggressively pursuing compensation on behalf of accident victims and their families.
We’ve recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients—money that helps them recover from their injuries and start to move on with their lives.