When you file a claim with an insurance company after a car accident, you may receive a settlement offer much earlier than you anticipate. However, it may not be a good decision to immediately accept the initial offer. It’s a wise idea to contact a car accident law firm in Cheyenne, Wyoming or Casper, Wyoming to have your settlement offer evaluated first.
Why You Should Never Accept a Settlement Offer Before Consulting Your Lawyers
Having your settlement offer evaluated by a lawyer is one way you can ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries and damages after a car accident. A car accident law firm will be able to determine if your settlement offer is appropriate for your economic and non-economic damages. It can be a mistake to accept a settlement without advice from a lawyer in Cheyenne, Wyoming or Casper, Wyoming for a few reasons:
Settlements Are Binding
Any settlement offer you accept is final and legally binding. When you accept a settlement from an insurance company, you are also agreeing that you will not pursue the insurance company for additional compensation in the future. This is called a release of liability.
The trouble with accepting a settlement offer without the advice of a lawyer is that you may be agreeing to a settlement that does not provide full compensation for your damages and injuries. When you consult with a lawyer, they will advise you to critically evaluate the offer or even reject the initial offer to start the negotiation process.
Medical Issues Can Worsen
Another reason you may not want to accept a settlement offer before consulting with a car accident law firm is that medical issues can worsen. It’s often the case in car accidents that injuries are more serious than they initially appear. For example, a concussion can worsen to a traumatic brain injury and involve more extensive treatment, which then involves more medical expenses, lost wages, and other negative impacts on your life.
Because insurance companies often make initial settlement offers quickly, this can mean you may not have enough to pay for all of your medical expenses and treatments. A lawyer will usually advise you to wait to accept an offer until a physician verifies that you are as medically recovered as possible. This will ensure that all of your medical costs will be paid for by the settlement agreement.
Damages May Be More Extensive Than You Realize
It’s also possible that damages associated with the car accident can be more expensive than anticipated. In general, your settlement offer will include the maximum amount of money offered by your specific insurance policy to repair or replace your vehicle. However, the estimation for vehicle repairs and other out-of-pocket expenses after an accident may be difficult to determine.
For example, an initial settlement offer may not cover expenses related to alternate transportation, at-home assistance while you’re recovering from an injury, lost wages, lost future earnings, pain and suffering, and much more. Until you know the extent of your expenses, it’s generally a good idea to wait before accepting an offer.
How Does a Lawyer in Cheyenne, Wyoming Evaluate a Settlement Offer?
A lawyer from a car accident law firm will evaluate a settlement offer in a few ways. In general, your settlement offer should provide full compensation for all of your physical and emotional injuries, as well as damages like vehicle repairs and your wages during your recovery. A lawyer will evaluate a settlement offer using calculations to compare the cost of your injuries and damages to the settlement that is offered by the insurance company.
Does the Settlement Cover All Past and Future Medical Expenses?
Your settlement offer should cover all the past and future expenses related to your physical recovery after an accident. Not only should the settlement cover the cost of your medical treatment for injuries sustained in the accident, but the settlement should also cover future expenses for medical treatments related to those injuries.
For example, if you sustained a life-altering injury, such as loss of limb, or your injuries caused disability, your settlement should cover the expenses related to your medical treatment in the future. This is because you will be coping with these injuries for the foreseeable future, and you deserve compensation for ongoing medical costs.
Are Pain and Suffering Included in the Settlement?
Many initial settlement offers from an insurance company will not include compensation for pain and suffering. However, if you have experienced emotional trauma, anxiety, depression, physical pain, scarring, disfigurement, or any other emotional challenge, such as loss of companionship after an accident, you are entitled to receive compensation for these damages. A lawyer will need to help you negotiate for pain and suffering to be included in your settlement offer.
Do You Have a Strong Case in Cheyenne, Wyoming?
Finally, a lawyer will evaluate your settlement offer based on the strength of your case. If you are not liable for your car accident, then your lawyer will usually encourage you to negotiate for a better settlement. But even if you do have some amount of liability, you can still negotiate for a settlement amount that is more appropriate for your damages and injuries.
Why Do Insurance Companies Offer Settlements Quickly?
Insurance companies are motivated to offer quick settlements because it will prevent them from paying the full cost of your injuries and damages. This is because the initial settlement offer will generally only cover the cost of some medical expenses and vehicle repairs, and will not include compensation for out-of-pocket expenses you may have during your recovery.
Why Do Insurance Companies Make Lowball Offers?
While insurance companies are obligated to settle with you for your injuries and damages, insurance companies frequently make lowball offers. Usually, an insurance company will make a low settlement offer because they believe victims of accidents will be eager to accept offers to pay for medical expenses. Essentially, the insurance company is counting on the desperation of people who are injured in accidents.
Can You Reject an Offer and Still Receive Compensation?
Many people who are offered a settlement by an insurance company worry that rejecting the first offer will prevent them from receiving any compensation. However, rejecting the initial offer from the insurance company is the first step to negotiating a settlement that provides compensation for your injuries and damages.
How Can a Car Accident Law Firm in Casper, Wyoming Help You?
A car accident attorney in Casper, Wyoming can be very helpful if you have received a settlement offer from an insurance company. A lawyer can evaluate your settlement offer, give you advice about the type of compensation you are entitled to and can help you negotiate directly with the insurance company so that you can receive adequate compensation to pay for all of your injuries and damages.
It’s always a good idea to consult with a car accident lawyer if you have received a settlement offer from an insurance company. A lawyer will have the experience to judge whether the compensation offered by the insurance company is appropriate for the expenses, emotional suffering, and other damages you may have after an accident. Please contact Ochs Law Firm today to learn more about the best way to accept a settlement offer.