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Car Accidents

Should I Take the First Offer of a Car Accident Settlement?

By April 9, 2024No Comments

You should not typically take the first offer of a car accident settlement. The value of the first offer may be less than you deserve. Even if the offer appears fair, you may not yet know the long-term cost of your car accident.

It may be wise to have a lawyer review any settlement offers you receive after the car accident. A car accident attorney can evaluate your damages and provide the precise dollar figure of a fair settlement. Just as importantly, an attorney can negotiate for the settlement you deserve.

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Why the First Settlement Offer Is Often Unfair

Insurance companies play an essential role by compensating accident victims for their losses. However, insurance companies are for-profit businesses that always consider their own financial interests. Therefore, an auto insurer’s goal may not be to pay what you deserve—instead, the insurer may work to save money by paying less than you are entitled to.

Some reasons why it may not be smart to accept the first settlement offer from an insurance company are:

Insurance Companies May Extend a Lowball Offer

An auto insurer may hope an unwitting victim accepts a lowball settlement offer. Even if you or your lawyer notes that the first settlement offer is too low, the insurance company may justify the lowball offer by:

  • Claiming that you are partially at fault for the car accident
  • Claiming that you solely caused the accident
  • Undervaluing the financial cost of your losses
  • Claiming that certain losses are not covered by insurance
  • Claiming that certain injuries or losses are not accident-related

When you consider how expensive accidents that result in injuries are, it’s no wonder why insurance companies look to avoid paying the full cost of victims’ losses. You are responsible for having a lawyer to avoid bad-faith insurance tactics, including lowball settlement offers.

You May Need Time to Evaluate Your Damages

It is not always clear how a car accident has affected you until time passes. For instance, certain injuries like whiplash are not always apparent immediately after the collision.

Time may be necessary to:

  • Receive a complete medical evaluation
  • Understand how injuries will affect you in the long term
  • Understand the nature of pain and suffering from the accident
  • Determine every kind of treatment you will need for physical injuries and psychological distress
  • Accurately value the cost of your accident-related damages

You may also need some time to find your lawyer. After you hire a car accident lawyer, they will lead the process of valuing your damages and pursuing a fair settlement from insurers.

Negotiations Are an Opportunity You Shouldn’t Waste

You have the opportunity to negotiate for the entire financial settlement you deserve. Allow your lawyer the chance to maximize this opportunity. If they negotiate successfully, your lawyer may secure far more compensation than was included in the first car accident settlement offer.

Reasons to Let a Car Accident Lawyer Negotiate a Settlement for You

A model car alongside a gavel symbolizes legal proceedings related to car accidents, including lawsuits and insurance claims.There are many reasons to hire a car accident lawyer, and specifically to have an attorney represent you in settlement negotiations. Attorneys can be capable negotiators of car accident settlements because:

  • Their prior experience negotiating car accident settlements will allow them to be composed and prepared for your settlement negotiations
  • They can bring resources to negotiations (like expert testimony) that you may not have access to
  • Attorneys can recognize bad-faith tactics during negotiations and immediately combat them
  • Attorneys can file lawsuits, giving them negotiating leverage with insurance companies

Law firms deal regularly with insurance companies. Being familiar with insurance companies and their tactics can be beneficial during settlement discussions.

There Can Be Great Risk in Trying to Handle Your Own Car Accident Case

If you are considering whether to hire a car accident lawyer, know the potential risks of handling your case without the help of a legal team. Left on your own, you may:

  • Put your recovery second: Your recovery should be your top priority after the car accident. If you choose to handle your own claim or lawsuit, your case may come before your health. This can cause additional physical injuries and even compromise the success of your case.
  • Become overwhelmed by case demands: Handling a car accident claim may be psychologically and emotionally taxing. You may already have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other types of pain and suffering weighing on you. Facing the details of your accident (once again) can cause further pain and suffering.
  • Be unable to obtain necessary evidence and documentation: You may have to see doctors, take care of loved ones, and deal with other responsibilities in the aftermath of your collision. Your time may be limited, and this may cause you to miss important evidence and documentation that will otherwise benefit your case.
  • Calculate your damages inaccurately: Calculating accident-related damages is a complex process that requires understanding non-economic damages in particular. You may struggle to accurately value your damages, leading you to seek less compensation than you deserve.
  • Become intimidated during settlement negotiations: Negotiating a car accident settlement is a high-stakes process. You may face bold tactics by insurance companies, and you will need to respond effectively to such tactics. You can become flustered, intimidated, and unsettled in other ways that prevent you from negotiating the settlement you deserve.
  • Be unable to secure all the compensation you deserve: There is the amount of money you deserve. Then, there is the amount of money you ultimately receive. If you cannot make a winning case without a lawyer, you will likely receive much less money than you deserve.

Attorneys offer experience, resources, and services that may directly translate to successful settlement negotiations.

How a Car Accident Lawyer Will Build Your Case

A legal professional specializing in contract documentation for car accident claims ensures accuracy in legal processing, focusing on agreement details.Your attorney and their team will manage your case from start to finish. They will urgently build the components necessary to start settlement negotiations, and their process may include:

Obtaining Evidence of the Negligence That Caused Your Accident

When a car accident happens, you can be fairly certain that someone’s negligence has caused it. Such negligence can include:

  • Driver impairment
  • Reckless actions by the driver
  • Motor vehicle defects
  • Dangerous road conditions
  • Careless acts by pedestrians, bicyclists, or scooter riders

Your attorney will secure any evidence that helps establish fault and liability for the car accident.

Securing Documentation of All Your Damages

Your legal team will illustrate how your car accident has diminished your life and may use:

  • Medical bills
  • Doctors’ records
  • X-rays, brain scans, and other images of injuries
  • Past employment records (which may help prove your professional damages)
  • Relevant expert testimony

Attorneys set no limit on the amount of documentation they seek. The more evidence of your damages your attorney can collect, the stronger their negotiating position may be.

Calculating a Settlement Value

Every car accident lawyer must determine how much money their client is entitled to. Your lawyer may arrive at a settlement value by:

  • Identifying all of your economic and non-economic damages
  • Securing all available documentation of those damages
  • Individually calculating the cost of each damage
  • Determining if you will have future damages you have yet to realize
  • Total the value of each damage (present and future) and arrive at a total case value

Attorneys use proven methods for calculating damages. This way, insurance companies or other liable parties should not challenge your lawyer’s settlement demands.

Negotiating with Insurers

Continue focusing on recovery while your attorney negotiates a settlement with liable insurance companies. Your legal team will provide all relevant documentation and evidence to insurers. They will then explain to insurers how much money you deserve.

Any insurers who owe you compensation will have the opportunity to offer a satisfactory settlement.

Speaking with You About Whether a Lawsuit Is Necessary

Your lawyer may grant liable parties the chance to pay you fairly. Those liable parties may decline to do so. In this case, your attorney may:

  • Complete a final round of negotiations, making it clear that a lawsuit can be the next step if liable parties do not meet their settlement demands
  • Inform you that liable parties aren’t offering the compensation you deserve
  • Explain whether a lawsuit might be the right move for your case
  • Get your feedback about the possibility of filing a lawsuit

If you want to pursue a car accident lawsuit, your attorney will proceed with the legal process.

Completing a Trial (if Necessary)

Some lawsuits proceed to trial. If your case reaches a trial stage, your attorney will represent you in court.

Recoverable Damages Your Lawyer Will Include in Your Car Accident Case

A male motorist experiences pain as he exits his vehicle following a car crash.The human body is not always capable of withstanding the impact of a car accident. This is why injuries and wrongful deaths often result from auto collisions.

If you suffered non-fatal injuries during a car accident, your recoverable damages may include:

  • Pain and suffering: Car accident victims may suffer anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), lost quality of life, and other difficulties that qualify as pain and suffering. These damages may be recoverable if you hire a lawyer who negotiates a fair settlement.
  • Healthcare costs: You should never have to pay out of pocket for medical services from a car accident someone else caused. This includes any medical transport, imaging services, hospital services, doctor’s appointments, or other healthcare services related to the collision.
  • Mental health services: Car accident victims who need therapy or medications for their pain and suffering should receive financial coverage for their treatment. Your attorney will include the cost of your mental health services in your car accident claim or lawsuit.
  • Vehicle damage: Car accidents often cause damage to vehicles, electronics, clothing, and other personal property. Your legal team will calculate the cost of replacing or repairing items damaged during your traffic accident.
  • Temporary transportation: If you need ridesharing services, taxis, or a rental vehicle after your car accident, your lawyer will include these costs in your case.
  • Professional harm: Professional damages from a car accident can include diminished earning power, lost income, lost benefits, lost chances for bonuses and promotions, and other job-related financial harm.

Lawyers treat each client as the unique person they are. Your attorney will consult qualified medical professionals, mental health experts, and anyone else with insight into your accident-related damages.

Damages in Fatal Car Accident Cases

Tragically, some car accidents take victims from their loved ones due to the preventable negligence of liable parties. Victims of wrongful death deserve to seek justice, and car accident lawyers often seek compensation for the following after fatal crashes:

  • Funeral expenses
  • Burial or cremation expenses
  • The decedent’s pain and suffering
  • Survivors’ pain and suffering
  • Any mental health treatment survivors need
  • Loss of spousal companionship (and any other non-economic losses that qualify as loss of consortium)
  • Loss of the decedent’s income and employer-provided benefits
  • Loss of the decedent’s household services

Wrongful death cases can be particularly difficult to handle without a lawyer. Allow a legal team to shield you from the heartbreaking details of the case while you process your loss.

Can I Afford a Car Accident Attorney?

You can afford to hire a car accident attorney because most injury lawyers use contingency fees. When a law firm uses contingency fees, it:

  • Asks for no upfront payment from the car accident victim
  • Pays for all case-related costs as they arise, including the cost of hiring any experts who contribute to the case
  • Agrees to only receive a fee if the lawyer secures financial recovery for the client
  • Takes its fees directly from the settlement or award, not from the victim’s pocket

This fee structure ensures that any car accident victim can hire a lawyer. With this results-based fee structure, your lawyer will also have financial reasons to secure a fair financial recovery for you.

Hire Your Car Accident Attorney Today

Car Accident Lawyer, Russell Reiner

Russell Reiner, Car Accident Attorney

Because there are filing deadlines for car accident lawsuits, there is no time to wait before hiring your car accident attorney. Your attorney will gather evidence right away and file your case on time.

Case evaluations are free and can provide immediate peace of mind, so there is no reason not to act today. The right personal injury lawyer is waiting to support you.




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