Should I Accept the First Settlement Offer from a Florida Insurance Company?
After being injured by someone else’s negligent behavior – whether it’s from a car accident, a slip and fall, medical malpractice, or anything else – it’s understandable that you may be thinking about your future and what to do next.
This almost certainly includes how to handle hospital bills and lost wages if you’re unable to work after the incident. One of the best ways to deal with this situation is to file a personal injury claim, which allows you to seek compensation for your damages.
The majority of personal injury cases settle before trial, and a lawsuit is not necessary. That being said, it’s essential to understand what is considered a good settlement offer and why you likely shouldn’t accept the first offer the insurance company makes.
Here’s why you should think twice before accepting the first offer:
Insurance Companies Are For-Profit Entities
The first, and probably most important, thing to understand is that insurance companies are for-profit businesses. While they exist to help when you’re injured and are bound by a contract with their customers (the insurance policy), their main concern is their bottom line and saving and making as much money as possible.
This means they’re likely to offer quick, low settlements in hopes that injured victims take it without having time to really think it through or run it by an attorney.
Even if the insurance company tells you their first offer is the best they can do, you’re still probably better off not taking it – or, at the very least, speaking with a personal injury lawyer first.
You May Have Future Complications
Another important thing to consider is that by accepting the first offer the insurance company makes, you may not be accurately considering potential future damages. For example, if other symptoms and issues arise in a few weeks related to the accident, you will be out of luck if you’ve already accepted an offer.
Once you take their settlement, you can no longer file a claim based on the incident that occurred. That means you can’t seek compensation for future related injuries and expenses, like future loss of earning capacity.
While it’s tempting to take a quick, easy offer, it’s important to give yourself and your body some time to heal and make sure you’re taking all damages into account when you settle your claim.
You May Be Making Decisions Based on Emotion
It’s completely understandable, and even expected, that you will have strong emotions tied to the accident, especially if you suffered severe injuries or were involved in a particularly scary or violent incident. If this happens, it’s incredibly helpful to give yourself time to really process what happened.
This can be done by talking to friends, family, or a professional. In the meantime, it’s best not to make any hasty decisions, as you’re probably not in a place emotionally where you can take the best action for your future.
You Haven’t Calculated Pain and Suffering Damages
If the first offer is very soon after the accident and you haven’t spoken with an attorney, it’s likely that you may not have even considered non-economic damages, like pain and suffering. If a settlement doesn’t reflect these types of losses, you could be leaving significant money on the table.
If you’ve experienced physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, or a host of other types of non-economic damages, this could dramatically increase the value of your claim.
Insurance Companies Want You To Settle Before Hiring a Lawyer
If the insurance company has made a quick initial settlement offer that you accept before you’ve spoken with an attorney, they’re getting exactly what they want.
These companies know that most people who aren’t formally trained in the legal field don’t know much about insurance claims and what they’re entitled to. Insurance adjusters want to get victims before they’ve spoken to a professional so they can convince them to take a quick settlement.
Once you hire a lawyer, there will be more investigation and negotiations, which is ultimately likely to hurt the insurance company’s bottom line. Remember, almost all Florida personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis and don’t require upfront payment, making this an affordable option.
Even if you don’t think your injuries are very serious, it’s always a good idea to speak with a lawyer before accepting any type of settlement. Schedule a free consultation with a personal injury attorney to protect your rights.
Contact the Jacksonville Personal Injury Law Firm of Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers Today For Help
Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers – Jacksonville
9471 Baymeadows Rd #105,
Jacksonville, FL 32256
Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers – Downtown Jacksonville
121 W. Forsyth St. #170,
Jacksonville, FL 32202