The Insurance Company Offered a Settlement. Should I Take It?
Posted in Car Accidents on July 11, 2022
Car accidents can have a major impact on your finances. From vehicle repairs to medical care, these incidents can rack up thousands of dollars’ worth of expenses. When an insurance company offers you a settlement, it’s tempting to accept it so you can recover from these financial losses.
However, you should rarely accept the first settlement offer from an insurance company. These settlements are often worth much less than your actual expenses. Before accepting any kind of compensation from an insurer, speak to an attorney about whether it is in your best interest.
Your Right to Compensation After a Missouri Car Accident
Missouri is a fault-based car accident state that requires all drivers to carry certain amounts of liability insurance. When the policyholder causes a car accident, this coverage will pay for the damages of the people who were injured in the crash.
If you are injured by a negligent driver, you have the right to file an insurance claim against him or her. Through your claim, you can recover a settlement to pay for several types of damages:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Property repairs
- Pain and suffering
Why You Should Not Accept the First Settlement Offer
After an accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance company may reach out to you and offer you a settlement. While you may want to take the money and resolve your case, you should be very cautious. Generally, you should not accept the first settlement that an insurance company offers.
To protect its bottom line, it is in the company’s best interest to limit the amount of money it pays out in settlements. By making an early settlement offer, the company could possibly close your claim before you realize the full extent of your injuries and damages.
In the days and weeks after your accident, you may not know if you have long-term medical costs or developed a permanent disability. You may not know how long you will need to stay home from work or if you could return to work at all. These factors take a long time to resolve and can have a significant influence on the value of your claim.
To recover the highest settlement possible, it is important to wait until you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) before accepting an offer. At this stage, you’ll have a much better understanding of your long-term needs and can accurately calculate your award.
What to Do If an Insurance Company Offers You a Settlement
By accepting a low insurance settlement after a car accident, you could suffer financial hardship in the future. If you are injured in a collision and the at-fault driver’s insurer offers you a settlement, speak to a Missouri car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
An attorney will work with you to accurately calculate your potential award, enlisting the help of expert witnesses to determine your long-term care costs. Your lawyer can also evaluate any settlement offers that you receive to ensure that they meet your needs.
Before accepting any offer from an insurance company, contact a Kansas City car accident attorney to discuss your legal options. Your lawyer can assess your case and identify your optimal path to maximum compensation.