A car accident can be a deeply traumatic experience. Many people are understandably eager to put the whole episode behind them as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, in their haste to resolve the matter and move on, they can end up accepting the insurance company’s initial offer of settlement — typically a lowball offer that is less than the actual losses from the accident.
Why would someone settle their accident claim for less than it’s worth? Perhaps because it seemed to be the path of least resistance, or at least minimal fuss. Or maybe because they were impressed by the sympathetic attitude of the insurance company adjuster or trusted the company to “do the right thing.”
Don’t make the same mistake. Major insurance companies have billions in assets and aggressive cost-containment strategies designed to keep profits high by paying out as little in claims as they can. They make it quick and easy to settle your claim for what they say it’s worth because it’s in their interest to do so.
If you’ve been in a minor traffic accident and feel confident negotiating with the insurance company yourself, you may be able to settle your claim easily and efficiently, with no real downside. But if you have sustained injuries, you may not even have a clear idea yet of how seriously you are hurt or what costs may be incurred down the line. Consequently, you shouldn’t be in a hurry to accept an insurance company’s offer of settlement. In fact, rather than fielding such offers yourself, you should probably be talking to a personal injury attorney about your next move.
Getting Professional Advice
An experienced personal injury attorney will want to evaluate your case thoroughly before trying to put a price tag on the settlement. That evaluation would include an assessment of not just your medical condition and car repair bills but the prospect of long-term care, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other possible impacts of the accident. The attorney will also know how to assemble the necessary documentation to back up your claim. You should seriously consider consulting with an attorney before deciding to accept an offer that may not cover the full extent of your damages.
Don’t worry that seeing an attorney will somehow complicate your claim. Obtaining the services of an attorney signals to the insurance company that you’re serious about your claim and are willing to go to court if it becomes necessary. In fact, bringing in a lawyer can actually simplify the settlement process because personal injury attorneys know how insurance companies work. Their presence lets the insurance company know that you know what constitutes a reasonable settlement and that you’re determined not to settle for less.
As we’ve noted in previous posts, people who hire an attorney end up with much higher settlements, on average, than those who try to pursue an accident claim on their own – three to four times as much, even after the attorney’s fees are paid. So why would you ever accept an initial offer from an insurance company without checking with an expert first?
The Car Accident Attorneys at Franklin D. Azar & Associates
For more than thirty years the attorneys at Franklin D. Azar & Associates have helped thousands of injured people obtain complete and timely compensation for their losses. Our proven track record and expertise have allowed us to grow into the largest personal-injury law firm in Colorado, with offices in Denver, Aurora, Thornton, Fort Collins, Greeley, Grand Junction, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo. If you’ve been injured in a bus, car, truck, or motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Please call the Colorado car accident attorneys at FDAzar day or night at 800-716-2824 or contact us here for a free consultation and no-obligation evaluation of your case.