Getting seriously hurt in a crash caused by another driver can quickly lead to financial stress. If your injury is bad enough to keep you from working, you may rapidly deplete any emergency savings you have and find yourself living on credit cards.
As if that wouldn’t be difficult enough on its own, you will also have the pain of your injuries and the cost of treating them to worry about. If the insurance company that covers the other driver reaches out to you with a settlement offer, you might feel inclined to leap at that opportunity.
Unfortunately, insurance companies know all too well how people struggle financially after a major accident. They often try to take advantage of that knowledge by offering a settlement far lower than what the person should receive based on the circumstances.
Too many people jump at the initial offer
Seeing a settlement offer with four, five or even six zeros before the decimal point might make you feel excited because it seems like your current financial hardships will soon be over. However, the amount in the offer may not really reflect the actual cost you will continue to incur because of your crash.
Before you make any kind of response to a settlement offer, you need to thoroughly evaluate the settlement to determine if it is fair and reasonable. In many cases, the chances are good that the initial offer will be lower than what you require to fully recover from the accident.
Insurance companies make a low offer in the hope that you will sign it and in doing so waive your right to keep additional compensation, regardless of the financial costs of your injury in the future.
Putting a price on what you go through in a serious accident
The pain and the stress that you experience after a motor vehicle collision can be hard to quantify. Other people may not appreciate the significant impact your injuries have had on your life, to say nothing of the potential impact on your career and future health or quality of life. In order to fairly estimate the amount that an injury will cost you, you need to look at all of the current expenses you have had to cover, including medical costs, replacement vehicles, lost wages and similar expenses.
You also need to carefully consider the expenses you will continue to incur in the future. For example, if you suffered a spinal cord injury or traumatic brain injury, you may not be able to return to the same industry or career, which would mean that your earning potential could decrease. You need to take those considerations into account as well when determining the financial impact of a collision on your life.
Only with careful attention to detail can you reasonably determine whether a settlement offer is in your best interests or not. In the event that the offer is far too low, countering with another offer can be on approach. Having an attorney to negotiate a better settlement or counter your insurance company can make the entire process easier and ensure you don’t wind up making a mistake that could cost you thousands of dollars later.