What Happens If I Reject a Settlement Offer?
For someone recovering from an accident, the thought of going up against an insurance company for a settlement offer equal to their entitlement is daunting. If you refuse an offer, you cannot go back later and change your mind, so the apprehension to put up a fight you do not know how to win often leads to the claimant accepting a compensation offer that is wildly below what they deserve. For victims of motorcycle accidents in Des Moines, IA, rejecting a settlement offer without proper counsel from Des Moines motorcycle attorneys can add insult to injury if their case must be taken to court.
The court is the last option, and a personal injury lawyer is there to use their expertise to get you a fair settlement before it goes that far.
Is It Smart to Reject the First Offer?
There is no blanket statement to apply to every individual claim, but overwhelmingly often the first offer is low and should not be accepted. Insurance companies are not in the business of giving away free money and it takes effort to get the number on the check to where you want it to be.
Offers are low for two reasons: many people take what they are offered because they don’t want the hassle, and most victims do not fully understand what their situation is worth, which lets insurance companies get away with paying a lot less. This is how the insurance industry stays so lucrative, and why employing a legal council is a smart idea.
If you do reject the offer, the next step is negotiations.
How Do Negotiations Work?
In most cases, the Insurance company expects rejection and is prepared for negotiations. A personal injury lawyer then steps in and leads the discussion on your behalf as an advocate for your rights, leaving you to rest and recover from your accident.
The first step in a negotiation is usually a letter of rejection with a counteroffer based on the facts of the incident. This can include medical bills, doctor reports, arguments based on pain and suffering, and any other evidence to back up your claim. This process continues between the two parties until an agreement is reached and signed off by both. Negotiation in good faith is the best chance of reaching your desired outcome, and a personal injury lawyer is a key to optimal success.
What Is Bad Faith?
An offer made in bad faith is in essence a ‘take it or leave it’ offer designed to bully a victim into accepting a subpar settlement. Often, attempts to negotiate a bad faith deal turn sour or are refused outright. If the insurance agent you are dealing with acts in this manner, an experienced lawyer is essential if you want to avoid court.
Lawyers can make attempts to contact higher status members of the insurance firm to resolve the matter if no solution can be found directly. Document every word of communication in a situation like this, as it can lead to a lawsuit against the insurance company if the bad faith crosses into the realm of illegality.
What Happens If I Go to Court?
The court is usually the last resort if there is no other possible resolution. Some people choose to sue the at-fault party directly rather than settle with insurance in which case each side can argue the facts and fault in front of the judge and jury.
In the case of motorcycle accidents in Des Moines, IA, the court's best-avoided prejudice against motorcyclists has been documented and cases are often lost. If your case is strong, a good offer can be reached with insurance through your lawyer, but if insurance isn’t offering near what you want even with legal intervention from an expert, a jury is unlikely to vote in your favor and you could walk away with nothing.
Above all, the most important thing is that you settle if and when it feels right for you. Compensation and settlements are not one size fit all and what is right for someone else may not be right for you. Don’t let yourself be pushed into accepting the first offer if you know you deserve more, but don’t get greedy if the offer on the table is sufficient and covers all your losses.