If you were seriously injured in a car accident, taking the first settlement from an insurance company may seem like a given: After all, it’s immediate money towards your mounting medical expenses. However, insurance companies know that accident victims tend to think this way, and so many providers will purposely give you a much lower offer the first time around.
In order to properly recover from your injuries, you’ll need to maximize the compensation you get from an auto insurance company. At Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP, we’ve made it our mission to help individuals who are struggling in the aftermath of an accident. With 125 combined years of experience, we can negotiate with an insurance company on your behalf, and even take the fight into court if it becomes necessary.
In the meantime, we’ll discuss a few of the reasons you should fight for a fairer settlement – and provide some tips for working with insurers.
Who Is Liable for Car Accident Injuries?
Depending on your state of residence (and who was at fault for the accident), liability for your claim will vary. In Kentucky, for example, the state’s “no-fault” accident laws mean that every individual has to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. Regardless of your own fault in the accident, you can file a claim with your insurance company to cover your injuries.
On the other hand, Alabama residents are not required to carry personal injury protection insurance, and insurance plans are only required to cover damage to other people and vehicles. This “at-fault” or tort-based accident system means that you can either file a claim with your own insurer or decide to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver. In some cases, you may decide to file a claim first and pursue a lawsuit after negotiations fail.
Negotiating With Insurance Companies
Regardless of the details surrounding your injury claim, however, insurance companies often give low settlement offers, especially when it’s the first one given. This is because most insurers are hoping that you’ll accept the money up front and move forward with your life, rather than continue to negotiate with them.
Because of this fact, it’s usually best to try and negotiate for a better deal. Whether you sustained a catastrophic spinal cord injury or a mild Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), you may require additional medical testing, doctor’s visits, and time off work to recover. Even minor injuries can become much more serious without proper treatment and care.
When you need to negotiate with an insurer, here are some things to keep in mind:
- You never have to accept their offer. Once an insurance company knows that you’re negotiating alone, they may try to pressure you into accepting their first offer. You are never required to take an offer that seems unfair, and in most cases, accepting a settlement is not your only legal recourse for compensation.
- You don’t have to admit fault. In order to lower your offer, the insurer may try to pry out key details about the accident and re-frame them to increase your share of the blame. Although insurers don’t want you to know this, you are not required to admit fault to them.
- There may be hidden expenses down the line. Without specialized legal or financial training, it’s extremely difficult to predict the true lifetime cost of an injury. The last thing you want to do is accept a settlement offer too early, only to realize that you need surgery later. If you negotiate on your own behalf, make sure to consider all the possibilities before accepting an offer.
- Your attorney can negotiate for you. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of stressful negotiations, you don’t have to do it alone! Because car accident attorneys in Birmingham are also skilled negotiators, your lawyer may be better equipped to seek the outcome you want.
Committed Advocates for Justice
No matter where you stand in the negotiation process, you can always turn to our experienced team at Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP for prompt legal assistance with your accident claim. We’re passionate about helping victims find the rest and recovery they so often need, and we frequently stand up to major insurance companies across the country. If you need a dedicated advocate in your corner, just give us a call!
Ready to get started? Call 800-568-5330 for your free consultation.
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