Should I accept a car accident settlement from an insurance company? At the Law Offices of Scott Dinsmore, APC, we get asked this question a lot.
Our answer is usually: eventually, but only if it is fair and full compensation.
The first and greatest mistake to avoid when dealing with an insurance company is this: Don’t sign or agree to anything without first speaking with an experienced Manhattan Beach car accident lawyer. We are here to provide you with the advice you need to make an informed choice on whether to accept an offer, continue negotiations, or take your case to trial.
Don’t Sign Anything Until You Speak With a Lawyer
You don’t have to accept a settlement offered by an insurance company. You have a legal right to seek compensation for your pain and suffering by taking the responsible party to court. However, this is a process that can take months or years to resolve. The insurance company will try and drag it out as long as possible in an attempt to force a settlement, so we always advise our clients to be patient and allow us to use our knowledge and experience to fight for the full amount of compensation they are owed.
Insurance companies abuse the system on a massive scale, a topic which we go into greater detail in here: “Frivolous defenses” and other insurance company schemes to deny, delay and defend claims.
Keep in mind that the insurance companies aren’t concerned about what’s in your best interest. The insurance companies are businesses. They’re in business to make money. They don’t make money by handing out generous cash settlements on behalf of their policy holders. They make money by keeping costs down. The lower the settlements they have to pay out, the bigger their profits.
This is why an attorney will almost always tell you not to accept the first offer made by the insurance company as settlement for your case.
Evaluating a Settlement Offer After a Car Accident
You are in a bad situation, and an insurance company’s initial offer of some quick cash may seem tempting. The insurance claims adjusters are counting on it.
This initial offer may cover your current needs, but what about the future? Will it adequately compensate you for the total cost of your injuries and other losses? These can include:
- Current medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Vehicle repairs or replacement
- Damaged or destroyed personal property inside the automobile
- Lost wages
- Loss of ability to work
- Pain and suffering
- Legal costs
Remember, should you accept a car accident settlement, it’s final. You will not be able to seek additional compensation for your injuries.
Don’t let the insurance companies intimidate or coerce you into agreeing to a settlement before you have a chance to speak with a lawyer.
Increasing Your Chances of Maximum Compensation
It’s a fact that your chances of getting a fair settlement are greatly increased by having a lawyer represent you. An experienced auto accident attorney is the best person you can have on your side when negotiating with the insurance companies.
They know all the tricks the insurance companies will employ to get out of paying you a just settlement. Lawyers have the skills and resources to gather the evidence in your case and establish liability on the part of the insurance company’s client. They know how to use the law to convince the insurance companies to see things from your point of view.
Most auto accident lawyers work on a contingency basis. That means they do not collect a fee until you collect your settlement.
This brings us back to the original question asked in this blog post: Should you accept a car accident settlement? Eventually, once you’ve negotiated a settlement that fulfills your current and future needs. If you can’t, you can always have the option of going to trial.
Frequently Asked Questions About Car Accidents in California
In California, you have two years from the date of the car accident to file a personal injury claim. This is known as the statute of limitations. It’s important to take action as soon as possible after the accident to gather evidence and work with an experienced attorney to ensure your rights are protected and you receive fair compensation for your damages. Waiting too long may result in losing the opportunity to file a claim altogether.
Yes, you may still be able to receive compensation for a car accident in California even if you were partially at fault. California follows the comparative negligence rule, which means that your compensation will be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you.
For example, if you were found to be 30% at fault and your damages totaled $10,000, your compensation would be reduced by 30% to $7,000. It’s important to work with an experienced attorney who can help protect your rights and maximize your compensation.
Settling a car accident claim in California can take anywhere from a few months to more than a year, depending on various factors such as the complexity of the case, the severity of injuries, and the willingness of both parties to negotiate. It’s important to work with an experienced attorney who can help expedite the process and ensure you receive fair compensation for your damages.
After getting into a car accident in California, the first step is to ensure everyone involved is safe and call for medical help if necessary. Then, exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver(s) involved. Take photos of the scene and any damages to your vehicle. File a report with the police and notify your own insurance company. It’s also recommended to seek legal counsel from an experienced attorney who can guide you through the process and protect your rights.
Get Help Negotiating a Fair Car Accident Settlement
The experienced car accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Scott Dinsmore, APC have been helping residents of Manhattan Beach, Torrance, Redondo Beach, Lawndale, El Segundo, Hawthorne, Hermosa Beach and surrounding communities get the fair and just settlements they deserve for over 30 years. We aren’t afraid to take on the insurance companies to get you the best compensation possible for your pain, suffering and financial losses.
If you or a loved one have been injured in an auto accident, call us at 310-318-1220 or contact us online for a free, no obligation consultation before you sign or agree to anything the insurance company offers you.