I Was Offered a Settlement After My Car Accident. Should I Take It?

A car accident settlement negotiation will establish how and who will compensate the victim(s) for the damage they suffered.

insurance adjuster offering pen to sign settlement offer

Being in a car accident can have an important impact on your life, from keeping you from working and earning money as usual to having to visit doctors and go through treatments or surgery. You can also expect an increase in your stress level or even depression.

In most cases, a car accident caused by someone’s negligence is followed by a car accident claim, a settlement negotiation that will establish how and who will compensate the victim(s) for the damage they suffered.

If you are already in that situation, it’s probably not a convenient one, as it does require you to look for evidence, visit experts and find a good St. Louis car accident attorney. It’s a stressful process for both you and the defendant. Because of that, you might be tempted to accept the first offer from the insurance company. Should you take it? It depends.

The First Offer

If your car accident is minor and your injuries are easy to diagnose and treat, you might be ok when signing the first offer. But beware of any possibility of your health being affected in the long-term. Only sign the first offer if your doctor assures you that your condition cannot get worse in the future. Most of the time, the first offer proves to be insufficient to cover all the areas which have been damaged in your life.

The first offer an insurance company makes is usually well below the real value you could get for your injuries. If the news is delivered by an insurance adjuster, he might be quite persuasive and seem well-intentioned. Always remember that an insurance adjuster’s job is to save the insurance company money by minimizing what they have to pay out.

Negotiating for a Higher Settlement

The insurance company already expects a negotiation and this is why they start with the smallest possible offer. You should make a counter-offer for the maximum amount you are expecting to get for your injuries, which can be established realistically with the help of an experienced St. Louis auto accident lawyer.

Negotiating can prolong your settlement case for months, so be prepared to delay getting that check. Still, it’s better than signing the first offer, then discovering that you have health issues that are no longer covered by the insurance company.

During the negotiations, the insurance company will try to demonstrate that you had your own fault for the accident or that the impact it had on your life is not as bad as you say. Saying the right thing and presenting the right evidence is key to getting the amount you are hoping for, so it’s best to rely on the experience of a lawyer when it comes to such subtleties.

Make the most out of your car accident claim by speaking with an experienced car accident attorney before accepting or signing anything the insurance adjuster offers you.

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Updated: December 20, 2019