After an auto accident, you have many things to manage, from seeking medical treatment to fixing your car. When your auto insurance carrier offers you a settlement, it might be tempting to accept what it offers without really thinking about it. You need the money to resolve the situation, and it’s readily available. However, many auto accident victims do not realize that they shouldn’t accept the car insurance carrier’s settlement offer. Here are some reasons to be careful before settling with auto insurance companies.
You Might Be Entitled to Additional Compensation
Typically, auto insurance carriers offer the smallest settlement possible when it comes to accident settlements. This minimizes the amount that the company will have to pay to honor the terms of its coverage. In the event that you accept the first offer, the company won’t have to offer you any additional compensation for the claim. Many car accident victims accept this initial settlement without realizing that they could have received more money from the insurance company.
Having an auto accident attorney review your insurance settlement before accepting it can be a good way to know if the settlement is a fair amount. In some rare cases, the car insurance carrier might offer more than what your attorney expected. If the settlement amount is too little, your car accident lawyer can recommend how much compensation to expect.
You Probably Can Negotiate
Since the car insurance carrier will often offer you the lowest amount possible to settle your claim, there is probably room to negotiate with the company to see if you can get more compensation. You can refuse to sign the settlement and work with your adjuster to request a higher amount on your own. You can also work with a car accident attorney who can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. In some cases, the insurance company might often a higher amount sooner when its staff realizes that an attorney is involved to simply expedite the process.
Car insurance carriers want to settle versus going through the court system. The court process is expensive for them, too. As a result, the insurance company is likely to be more open to negotiation than most car accident victims would think.
Insurance Providers Will Lessen the Car’s Value
Before starting the negotiation process with your insurance provider, it’s important to know how much your vehicle is worth. Start by reviewing your specific make, model, and year on a website like Kelly Blue Book or Edmunds to get an objective idea of its worth before the accident. Consider the condition of the vehicle to assess whether the vehicle would be considered good, fair, or poor. If the settlement amount the adjuster offers you is much less than you expected, it might be because of how the adjuster rated the vehicle’s condition before the accident.
It is in the car insurance provider’s best interest to rate the vehicle in the worst starting condition possible. This would lessen the amount of money the company would need to pay out in a settlement offer. For this reason, if you feel that the insurance provider’s offer unfairly devalues the condition of your car before the accident, it is worth trying to push for a more honest assessment of the car’s value.
Some Settlements Prevent Further Legal Action
Depending on the specific nature of the accident, the involved parties, and the settlement, it is possible that accepting a settlement now prevents further legal action in the future. You are entitled to receive compensation for damages related to your car accident. By accepting the car insurance carrier’s settlement, you might forfeit your right to additional legal action against the responsible parties.
Before signing a settlement, it is important to read and understand the fine print. You need to know what rights you will and won’t have by signing the settlement. Your Savannah car accident attorney can review your settlement and case to make sure that accepting the terms of the agreement is in your best interest. Without signing the car accident settlement, you may have other options available for recourse.
Contact Car Accident Attorneys in Savannah Today
If you or a loved one has been involved in an auto accident around Savannah, Georgia, you do not have to navigate the insurance settlement process alone. You can contact a car accident attorney to discuss the specifics of your case. Contact Phillips Carson Phillips today by calling (912) 232-0081 for a free consultation. We are here to help you and your family during this difficult time.