If you have been injured in an auto accident and offered a very low settlement amount from the other driver’s insurance company, do not simply reject the offer and give up. Contact a Joplin auto accident attorney first because you may be able to negotiate. The reality is settlement is not a one-step process. In fact, the majority of settlements are the result of back-and-forth negotiations between the parties through their representatives. The important thing to remember is that you are not required to accept the first settlement offer you receive. Instead, discuss your options with a Joplin auto accident attorney to make sure you are being offered the compensation to which you are entitled.
How settlement typically works in auto accident cases
Settlement in auto accident cases is typically achieved after the victim files a claim with the insurance company that covers the at-fault driver. Those claims are handled by insurance claims adjusters who will review the information regarding the auto accident and then determine an appropriate amount to settle the claim. Sometimes their settlement offers are based on a pre-determined formula established by the insurance company. In most cases, their offers are much lower than they should be, which is understandable from a business perspective. However, it may not be in your best interest to simply accept the first offer an insurance adjuster makes. Let our Joplin auto accident attorney help you determine whether the offer is fair.
Assessing the fairness of a settlement offer
Before you reject a settlement offer from an insurance adjuster, you should let a Joplin auto accident attorney determine what a fair settlement should be in your case and then compare that to the offer that has been made. Letting a Joplin auto accident attorney help you determine a fair dollar amount for your specific claim will help you to see whether you are being fully compensated for your injuries and damages. It is important to remember that every case is different, so your claim needs to be analyzed by an experienced attorney to determine what is fair and reasonable.
Determining the fair dollar amount can be complicated
When it comes to liability claims filed against another driver’s insurance policy, potential compensation can be based on medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage. All of these types of damages can be assessed and calculated by a Joplin auto accident attorney and should include past, current, and future expenses. This will be used to determine a “fair” settlement amount. However, making these calculations is not always simple. This is especially true if issues of contributory negligence are involved. In other words, if the insurance company claims that you were partly at fault for the auto accident.
Responding to or rejecting an unfair settlement offer
If you and your Joplin auto accident attorney determine that the settlement offer you receive from an insurance adjuster is too low, your attorney can reject the offer and negotiate with the insurance adjuster for a more reasonable settlement amount. In doing so, your attorney will explain the facts that warrant a higher settlement amount. Negotiations often continue beyond the initial settlement offer and counteroffer. Typically, an insurance adjuster will make a higher offer as long as the counteroffers are not unreasonable.
How settlement negotiations work
In most cases, the initial amount that a Joplin auto accident attorney requests for settlement will not be the “bottom line,” that is the lowest amount they are willing to accept in settlement of their client’s claims. The goal of negotiations is to start higher than the bottom line in hopes that the claim can settle for the highest amount possible, within reason. On the other end, the insurance adjuster is interested in trying to reach a settlement that will subject their insurer to the least amount of recovery. It is important for auto accident victims to understand what is considered a “fair” settlement in their case before the process begins.
Let your Joplin auto accident attorney help
If you believe the settlement offer made to you by an insurance adjuster is unfair, contact your Joplin auto accident attorney to help you determine what course of action to take. It is true that, statistically speaking, insurance adjusters offer lower settlements to victims who are not being represented by attorneys. So, if you have been injured in an accident in Joplin or any other area of Missouri, let our firm help you obtain a fair settlement for your claims.
If you have questions regarding auto accidents or any other personal injury matters in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a free consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us toll-free at (888) 433-4861.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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