Should I Accept the Insurance Company's Settlement Offer?

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Is it a Good Idea to Accept the Insurance Company’s Settlement Offer?

Is it a Good Idea to Accept the Insurance Company’s Settlement Offer?

Jan 23, 2024

Whether you’ve been injured in a car accident, dog bite, slip and fall, or other type of case, chances are high that the insurance company will offer you a cash settlement. But knowing whether the settlement amount is fair can be challenging, particularly if you have serious or complicated injuries. Continue reading to learn how to protect your right to financial compensation in a personal injury case.

Should I Accept the Insurance Company’s Settlement Offer?

If you’d like to speak with a Dordulian Law Group car accident, premises liability, dog bite, medical malpractice, or sexual assault attorney, call 866-GO-SEE-SAM now to set up a free consultation. The call is confidential and there’s never any obligation. Moreover, there’s never any upfront fee for our expert legal representation – you pay nothing until we win for you.

What Does it Mean When an Insurance Company Offers a Settlement?

Insurance companies prefer to settle claims rather than go to court. Litigation can be expensive, and auto, home, and renter insurance companies are in business to make money. While a settlement offer can be a sign that your insurer is making a good faith attempt at resolving your claim, it may not be a fair amount which accounts for all of your pain and suffering, medical care costs (both past and future), and other damages.

There can be several reasons for why an insurance company might offer a fast and unfair (or lowball) settlement offer:

  • They may want to settle your claim before you are fully aware of the full extent of your injuries and damages. In a car crash, for example, severe injuries are commonly sustained but can take longer to diagnose or treat.
  • If the insurance company of the at-fault driver or dog owner can convince you that a fast settlement is acceptable, they could save money (and it’s important to understand that you release the other parties of any liability once you accept their settlement – even if your doctor diagnoses further injuries later on, you’re unable to demand additional money once a settlement has been signed).
  • The insurance company may try to get you to settle before you can speak to a personal injury lawyer and understand how much your case is really worth (e.g. you may discover that your claim is worth more than your medical expenses and lost wages after consulting with an experienced Los Angeles injury attorney).
  • You may not know that you’re entitled to non-economic damages like pain and suffering before accepting a quick settlement.

While it can be tempting to accept a cash settlement from the insurance company, there are so many reasons to at least set up a free consultation with an attorney. At Dordulian Law Group (DLG), we can help you determine whether a settlement offer is fair based on our more than 25 years of experience.

How to Tell If Your Insurance Company’s Settlement Offer is Fair

Unfortunately, the insurance company’s first settlement offer is more than likely not fair. Most injured victims are under a substantial amount of stress and financial burden after a car accident or dog bite. Insurance companies use this to their advantage, encouraging victims to accept settlements which may not take into consideration damages commonly recovered by DLG’s team of proven lawyers:

  • Pain & suffering
  • Emotional trauma
  • Psychological distress
  • Property damage
  • Punitive damages
  • Lost wages
  • Medical care expenses for all of your injuries (past and future costs resulting from your accident)
  • Reduced quality of life

If your cash settlement does not include a particular type of damages, your case value can be wrongfully decreased – sometimes by tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Insurance companies often rush to offer settlements – even before you, the victim, has completed medical treatment or consulted with a Dordulian Law Group personal injury attorney. Accepting an insurance settlement offer without seeking legal counsel may not be the best option for a number of reasons:

  • Most people who accept an insurance company’s first offer receive less money (when compared to those who negotiate a settlement).
  • Injured victims who secure private legal representation secure settlements that are 40% higher.
  • If you choose to represent yourself, your average insurance payout will statistically be around 3.5x less.
  • Injured plaintiffs who hire private attorneys secure 85% of all the money that insurance companies pay out for bodily injuries each year.

By taking the appropriate amount of time to research your legal options before accepting any cash settlement offer, you stand a greater chance of securing maximum compensation for your case.

Can You Decline a Settlement Offer?

You may absolutely decline a settlement – you are under no obligation to agree to the insurance company’s offer. Negotiating for a higher offer, making a counteroffer, and fighting for what you deserve is something DLG’s attorneys always recommend.

Additionally, it’s best to never accept any settlement offer before your doctor has released you from treatment. Your injuries cannot be fully assessed until your medical treatment is complete. Your doctor may also issue a permanent disability rating once you have completed treatment, and this could increase the value of your personal injury claim.

It could be in your best interest to negotiate a settlement if you have minor injuries and complete medical treatment. But you should be sure that you fully understand the value of the damages related to the injuries you suffered. Ask for the breakdown of any settlement offer made by the claims adjuster. From there, DLG recommends reviewing each item and determining the amount that is being paid by the company for your damages.

What You Need to Know About Insurance Company Settlement Offers

You can reject an initial offer and still recover financial compensation through a cash settlement. Insurance companies suggest that settlement agreements are “now-or-never” offers. If an accident victim rejects a settlement offer, it seems like the victim won’t get anything. But this is not true. Personal injury lawyers who have experience in this field know that an offer for a settlement is just the beginning of the negotiation process with insurance companies. Insurance companies are looking to spend the least amount of time and money possible on each claim. Quick settlements are a way to achieve this. Quick settlements, however, are usually unfair to accident victims as the majority of accident claims are worth much more than initial settlement offers. Accident victims can either reject the claim or make a counteroffer to their insurance company. Insurance companies know that if an accident victim has a personal injury lawyer who has experience and results, they may have to pay a lot of money if the case goes all the way through trial. When an accident victim is aware of the claims process and is willing to go to court, insurance companies will more than likely make a fair settlement offer.

You are bound to any settlement you accept – regardless of whether or not it’s fair. Settlement agreements contain a release from liability. This means that the insurance company will not be responsible for payments made outside the settlement agreement. The victim can’t ask for any more money and can’t take the case to the court once an agreement has been finalized. It is still true even if an accident victim doesn’t realize the full value of their claim, if complications occur, or if they don’t think the injuries are as serious as initially believed. Lack of information should be a major concern for accident victims.

Your injuries may not be what they initially appear – dog bites and car accident trauma can lead to ongoing issues which may not be apparent when the insurance company makes an initial settlement offer. Before accepting a settlement offer, accident victims should know the impact of their injuries on current and future employment prospects, mobility, activity level, as well as overall health and quality of life. Knowing what sort of ongoing treatment or care will be required as a result of your accident can help you better determine what a fair settlement offer might be. Maximum medical improvement (MMI) is a term that is commonly used in personal injury claims. A doctor will decide that there is nothing else a patient can do to improve their condition once they have reached MMI. At that point, any impairment or injury is unlikely to improve and is usually considered a permanent condition. Injury victims should not accept settlements before they reach MMI, as the full extent of their injuries may not yet be understood.

Contact a California Injury Attorney Today to Discuss Your Settlement Offer

Our Glendale, California-based car accident and personal injury lawyers are available 24/7 to discuss your case. We have helped injured victims like you obtain more than $100,000,000.00 in settlements and verdicts with a consistent 98% winning record. We know what a fair settlement offer from an insurance company includes, and if you’re not satisfied with the initial amount they’ve offered, we’re here to fight aggressively to ensure you get justice and maximum financial compensation.

Ready to file a claim and pursue justice through a financial damages award? Our expert attorneys are available online or by phone now.

Contact us today at 866-GO-SEE-SAM for your free and confidential consultation. Our No Win/No Fee Guarantee means there’s never any upfront costs to you – you’ll never receive a bill until after we’ve successfully secured a damages award for your case. Take the first step towards obtaining the justice you deserve by calling Dordulian Law Group today.

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