It’s never easy knowing whether an insurance company’s offer is fair, especially if you try to navigate the legal world on your own.
While insurance companies can offer peace of mind by protecting people and their property in a car accident, that doesn’t mean they are willing to give victims as much money as their personal injury claims are worth. Insurance providers will often try to pay out as little as possible, even if it’s at the expense of the victim’s health and well-being.
However, it’s not always easy to know if the offer to settle a personal injury claim is fair or whether there’s room to negotiate. Below, you can learn more about how insurance companies calculate their costs and why hiring a lawyer to speak with them on your behalf might be worth your while.
The Value of Your Damages
When you meet with a car accident lawyer to discuss filing a personal injury claim, they will review the facts of the case and calculate the value of your damages. These damages typically include medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and all other related costs that you needed to cover out of your own pocket due to someone else’s negligence or ill intentions on the road.
When an insurance company calculates an offer to settle the case, they generally factor in the costs you have provided information for. This figure forms part of the offer they put forth to you or your lawyer.
The Costs of Defending Your Claim
It can take time for an insurance company to respond to the demand letter sent by your chosen car accident lawyer. Sometimes, this is because they require time to read through your case-related information and determine the likely costs associated with defending your claim.
Generally, they factor in expert witness fees and legal representation at a minimum. These costs can help them decide how much to offer you to settle the case and whether it’s worth their while to settle or take the case to court.
Any Weaknesses in Your Case
When you align yourself with one of the best car accident attorneys in the state, they will do their best to create an air-tight case with solid and indisputable facts. However, not all personal injury claims are straightforward, and some facets of your situation may weaken your case.
For example, there might be conflicting witness statements, or you have a pre-existing medical condition that might exacerbate your injuries. You might have even admitted fault at the scene, even though the accident wasn’t your fault.
Insurance companies may identify any weakness, no matter how insignificant, and use it to provide you with a lower offer than what your case is really worth.
Your Ability to Fight
While not true in all cases, some insurance companies might look at your current position and know that you’re likely to accept the first offer you’re provided. You might have decided to proceed without legal representation, or your medical debts are financially crippling you.
If an insurance company knows you’re not in a position to turn down an offer, they might be more likely to offer a lowball sum that saves them money but barely covers your accident-related costs.
How to Maximize Your Offer Potential
Every case is different, but most car accident lawyers set out to maximize your potential settlement offer to ensure you’re able to cover as many of your costs as possible. They do this in some of the following ways.
While you might have gathered initial evidence from the scene, your chosen lawyer can tap into a wide variety of resources to strengthen your case even more. They might help you secure medical records, video footage of the accident scene, witness statements, and more.
Depending on the case’s severity, they may even be able to bring in expert witnesses to confirm the facts of your case and help a jury see that the car accident victim deserves adequate compensation.
Not Accepting the First Offer
While some lawyers’ primary goal is to settle fast and secure a win, that’s not always in the client’s best interests. When they’re trying to maximize the settlement figure to ensure the victim gets what they deserve, they often decline the insurance company’s initial offer.
In this situation, the insurance company has three choices. They can either accept the offer put forward by the lawyer, provide a counter-offer, or allow a lawsuit to be filed and let the courts decide.
The first offer an insurance company puts forward is rarely their best one, so some of the best car accident lawyers will begin negotiations. Sometimes, these negotiations can go back and forward over several weeks until a figure can be agreed upon. In rare situations, a figure can’t be decided upon, and a lawsuit is filed.
It’s never easy knowing whether an insurance company’s offer is fair, especially if you try to navigate the legal world on your own. If you’ve been involved in a car accident, seek legal representation. You can then leave negotiations in the safe hands of experts.