Should I accept a car accident settlement from an insurance company? At Dinsmore & Sandelmann, 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. You are in a bad situation, and the 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.
Get Help Negotiating a Fair Car Accident Settlement
The experienced car accident attorneys at Dinsmore & Sandelmann, LLP have been helping residents of Manhattan Beach, Torrance, Redondo Beach, Lawndale, El Segundo, Hawthorne and surrounding communities get the fair and just settlements they deserve for over 20 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.