Don’t take the first insurance agency offer after an accident

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By Marcus Fernandez

After being injured as a result of the negligence of somebody else, you might be struggling with medical bills. That’s precisely the position that the opposing insurance company wants you to be in. You need relief from all of that pressure and that insurer can help you get that. However, it’s unlikely that accepting a first offer of settling your personal injury claim will operate in your best interests.

Determine the Nature and Extent of Your Injuries First

Some injuries suffered in accidents are sneaky. They can be far more complicated and severe than most victims might believe. That twinge in your neck might soon run down your arm and into your hand. Or that lower back pain can worsen and travel across your hip, into your buttocks, and down your leg. Many accident victims just don’t take their possible long-term needs into consideration. Simple x-rays from the emergency room probably aren’t going to show the true nature and extent of a spinal disc or nerve injury that might require rehabilitation or even surgery. Insurance adjusters are well aware of this fact. It’s an adjuster’s job to save their employer as much money on claims as possible. So that’s what they’re going to try and do when victims are experiencing financial pressure.

Don’t Be Afraid to Reject the First Settlement Offer

Although you might not believe that it’s wise to reject an opposing insurance company’s initial settlement offer, it would be unusual for that insurer to extend an offer that represents the true value of your personal injury claim. No matter what that adjuster might say, no law in any state requires you to accept that first offer. It’s highly likely that the insurance company is merely just starting off settlement negotiations. The adjuster who is assigned to your claim probably has considerably more authority than the amount of the initial offer.

Serious Injuries and Low Policy Limits

Accidents happen every day when the driver who was at fault for the crash was riding on his or her state’s minimum mandatory liability policy limit. That driver might cause $150,000 of personal injury damages while being insured for a state’s minimum of $25,000. If the other insurer purports that its insured person only had $25,000 of coverage and initially offers that sum in a settlement, you’ll want written verification of that coverage, especially if you are appropriately insured and there is a basis for a valid underinsured motorist claim.

Beware of Traps Intended to Devalue or Deny Your Claim

Whether it’s the first offer of settlement or an underinsured motorist claim, you’re dealing with the opposing insurer at your own risk without the benefit of an experienced personal injury attorney. The adjuster on the other side of the claim will have handled thousands of personal injury claims in the past. This is probably your first, and they will be setting traps for you during the processing of your claim. These are intended to devalue your claim as much as possible. Most unrepresented claimants don’t even know that they are falling into such a trap until it’s too late.

A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer will recognize an insurance company’s strategies that are designed to pay out as little as possible. As nearly all personal injury attorneys are retained on a contingency fee basis, it operates in your best interests for them to work toward obtaining the highest settlement or award that you deserve in your case. In nearly all personal injury cases, that compensation will be far in excess of the initial offer. Don’t wait and fall into one or more traps. Obtain a consultation and retain a quality personal injury lawyer in your Tampa to represent you before thinking about even speaking with an opposing insurance company.