When you have been injured in an accident that was not your fault, you may find yourself with mounting medical bills and lost wages. It can be tempting to accept the first settlement offer from the insurance company so that you can move on from this painful experience.
But is this really in your best interest? Below, we will explain why it is not a good idea to accept the first settlement offer by the insurance company. Our Spokane personal injury attorneys at West Law Office can guide you through the personal injury claims process and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to make sure that you do not settle for less than you deserve.
What is a Settlement Offer?
A settlement offer is a proposal made by the insurance company to compensate you for your injuries after an accident. This offer usually includes an amount of money to cover medical expenses, lost wages, and other compensable losses. If you decide to accept the offer, you will be able to move on from the accident without having to go to court. However, if you reject the offer, you may need to pursue legal action to receive the compensation you deserve.
Note: Keep in mind that Washington has a statute of limitations for filing injury lawsuits. Essentially, it means that your time to bring a personal injury lawsuit is limited. According to RCW 4.16.080, injured victims in Washington have three years to sue the defendant for their injury.
Why You Should Not Accept the First Settlement Offer by the Insurance Company in a Personal Injury Case
There are several reasons why you should not accept the first settlement offer made by the insurance company in a personal injury case:
- The first offer is usually lower than what you deserve. Insurance companies typically make lowball offers to start negotiations. They hope to settle the claim quickly for as little money as possible. Do not accept the first offer until you understand what your case is really worth.
- You may not know the full extent of your injuries. Some injuries may not become apparent until weeks or months after the accident. If you accept the first settlement offer and then realize you need more medical treatment, you will not be able to receive additional compensation.
- You could leave money on the table. Once you accept a settlement offer, you forfeit your right to pursue any further legal action. You could be leaving money on the table that you could have received if you had pursued your case.
- You may not understand the legal process. Insurance companies have experienced and aggressive lawyers who know how to negotiate settlements. If you do not have a lawyer on your side, you may not understand the legal process or be able to negotiate effectively.
Seek the assistance of our skilled attorneys at West Law Office to ensure that you are getting the compensation to which you are entitled.
How to Determine if the Settlement Offer is Fair
To determine if the settlement offer is fair, you should consider the following factors:
- The extent of your injuries. Consider the severity of your injuries and how they have impacted your life. Have you had to miss work or pay for additional medical expenses? The offer should cover all of your costs and compensate you for your pain and suffering.
- Future medical expenses. If you will need ongoing medical treatment or therapy, the settlement offer should factor in these costs.
- Lost wages. If you were unable to work due to your injuries, the settlement offer should factor in your lost wages.
- Liability. Consider who was at fault for the accident. If the other party was completely at fault, you may be entitled to a higher settlement offer.
- Offers from other insurers. If you have received offers from other insurers, compare them to the offer from the insurance company to make sure you are receiving fair compensation.
Our attorneys at West Law Office can evaluate the offer you received from the insurance company and help you determine whether or not it is fair.
Talk to a Personal Injury Attorney
Accepting the first settlement offer from the insurance company in a personal injury case may not be in your best interest. To determine if the settlement offer is fair, contact our experienced personal injury attorneys at West Law Office. Set up a free case review by calling 509-993-0748.