Someone in an accident may feel compelled to accept the first settlement offer offered by an insurance company following a serious injury. But insurance claims adjusters are not working in your best interests, and they may capitalize on the stress and uncertainty accident victims deal with, resulting in them accepting lower initial settlements.
Never accept the first offer you get from the insurance company without consulting an Indianapolis workers’ compensation attorney. If you receive a settlement offer, take time to allow a lawyer to assess your losses and review the offer. The right workers’ compensation lawyer can determine whether you received a fair offer and negotiate a larger settlement when necessary.
Reasons to Consider Rejecting the First Offer
Receiving enough money in your settlement is extremely important, not just for covering your medical expenses but also for helping you to get a fresh start.
While accepting the first offer may be tempting in the short run, taking the offer can cause you to subsequently lose out on thousands of dollars in the long run. In many cases, you may recover more money, and you should consider all factors before making a final decision.
You Have the Right to Negotiate for a Higher Settlement Amount
While you might not feel you can control your claim negotiation, you do, and it all comes down to what you want and need. Insurance adjusters may give you the impression that your offer will expire if you do not accept their terms, but you still have time to consider the offer and negotiate to raise your settlement amount.
One essential factor to consider before accepting an offer is the extent of your damages. For example, accepting an initial offer if your damages are relatively minor may be worth avoiding a lengthy claims process. An attorney who can negotiate on your behalf and keep you informed of subsequent settlement offers will ensure you receive an award that accurately reflects your damages.
You May Have Worse Injuries Than They First Appear
After you have had time to go through all the necessary treatments, you might realize that your injuries are more complicated and expensive than you initially thought.
Allowing the insurance company to pressure you into a settlement offer that does not reflect the entire financial extent of your injuries may result in your covering additional expenses out of your own pocket.
Never accept a settlement offer until you have seen your doctor and received your medical diagnosis. You should also not accept a settlement offer until you reach a point in your recovery where your doctor acknowledges there is nothing more they can do for you.
The full extent of your injuries may not be known for many reasons including:
- More extensive treatment is necessary for your injuries than you had anticipated
- It takes longer for your wounds to heal than you expect
- Complications like secondary infections arise
- A plastic surgeon cannot fully revise your scare
- Your injuries led to you developing PTSD or another issue with your mental health
A good understanding of what ongoing medical care or treatment you will require after an accident and how this will affect your health and quality of life will provide you with a better perspective when evaluating and negotiating your workers’ compensation claim.
Once You Sign a Release, You Cannot Change Your Mind
One of the biggest risks of a quick settlement is incomplete information. Whether you understand the total value of your claim or encounter an unexpected medical problem, it does not matter once you sign the agreement.
Signing a settlement agreement means the insurance company is no longer responsible for any further payments. You should only accept a settlement offer once you have all the information about your accident and injury.
What Kinds of Damages Does a Settlement Include?
Insurers do not always explain what they are offering and why. A fair settlement should adequately cover all the damages you suffered due to your injuries. Most settlements fall into two basic categories of damages.
- Economic damages: These damages aim to compensate you for financial losses from your injury. They cover losses such as medical bills, damage to your property, rehabilitation costs, lost income, and plastic surgery.
- Non-economic damages: These damages are less concrete and cover your pain, suffering, scarring, diminished spousal relationship, loss of enjoyment, reputation, and other psychological issues.
Having a settlement goal in mind before you begin negotiating is in your best interest. Additionally, negotiations take time, and the insurance company probably won’t offer a fair settlement right away. Workers’ compensation lawyers can calculate all your losses to receive the full compensation you deserve.
Hire a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer to Handle Your Claim
Dealing with insurance settlements is stressful enough on its own, and the last thing you want to do is take on additional stress by navigating the process on your own. An attorney will use their experience and best judgment to resolve your case quickly and get you the insurance settlement you deserve.
Contact a local law firm today to schedule your free consultation. Case evaluations are free and a lawyer can answer your questions, advise you of your legal options, and explain how they can assist with the legal process.