Should You Accept the First Settlement Offer?
Updated: Feb 23
Being in a car accident is an unexpected and earth-shattering experience. It often causes shock, and many decisions are made that are not well thought out. Should you get injured and have your car damaged because of another driver's negligence, it can make the situation even more difficult to deal with.
You are likely aware that you should never have to pay out of pocket for someone else’s negligence. Your insurance company should not have to pay either unless you are the one in the wrong.
Insurance coverage can be a blessing as it helps you to cover expenses you would not otherwise be able to handle. However, when a negligent person’s provider reaches out to you directly, it's not as noble as it may seem.
This principle applies if you should pursue a trial to recover damages or get the compensation you deserve based on an incident. The defendant's attorney, much like an insurance company, may try to get you to agree on a settlement to avoid having the case reach its natural resolution.
It's important for you to be relaxed, think logically, and avoid accepting the initial settlement you get, even if it may seem lucrative. From a legal standpoint, the first settlement is rarely a fair one. It is often made with the hope of coercing someone out of what they are truly entitled to.
When you begin to perceive it this way, you begin to see that it's more about avoiding liability than it is honoring a fair payment as compensation. If you should retain an experienced auto accident lawyer, expect to receive sound advice on the appropriateness of whatever settlement may be offered.
Initial attempts also disregard the bigger picture. It is very unlikely that the full extent of damages or inconvenience can be adequately evaluated soon after an accident occurs. Again, insurance companies are acutely aware of this, so they are inclined to attempt settlement immediately before the true extent of the damage is unfolded.
Allow for a proper evaluation in a way that is relevant to the situation at hand. For example, if you were hit by another vehicle and you have slight neck pain, it would be in your best interest to visit a doctor and have a full medical report compiled.
Even with this, it may do some good to allow some time to pass to see the extent to which the effects of the accident affect your normal life. When settlements come too quickly, they disregard all of this, and your acceptance of them removes the possibility of your getting a fair payout later.
You never want to lose sight of the fact that higher offers are always a possibility. Your injury attorney is going to do all that is possible to help you maximize your compensation.
Des Moines legal professionals have taken a vested interest in the governing principles surrounding accidents and resulting compensation. This knowledge and experience are used in conjunction with your unique variables to determine the best path forward.
In some instances, this may mean allowing a trial to run to completion, and in others, you may find that the settlement is best.
The information presented here is not to imply that a first settlement can never be taken, but when done so without consideration, it can create a very expensive level of regret. If there is a situation created where a greater payment than the agreed amount is required, you are left to bear the responsibility for the difference.
You are the one who is going to face the consequences of the decision that's taken. Therefore, the choice of how to proceed is yours. The attorney you retain can make the best recommendations, but the course of action cannot be taken for you.
Remember that you have hired someone who is familiar with the legal process. Lean on that person for guidance, and do not let the pressure of bills or other needs cause you to undervalue the situation you are in.
Schedule a consultation with an attorney to understand the landscape and a potential plan of action. You may reach out to the professional team at Tom Fowler Law for any such needs in Des Moines, Iowa.