If you’ve suffered a severe injury in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be feeling overwhelmed and unsure what to do next. One of the most important steps is to consult with an experienced auto accident lawyer before accepting any settlement offers from the insurance company.

Insurance adjusters often make low initial offers, hoping you’ll accept them quickly without understanding the full value of your claim. Let’s discuss why these first offers are usually too low and how a personal injury lawyer can seek the compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses.

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Why Initial Offers Are Usually Low

After an accident, the at-fault party’s insurance company is responsible for compensating you for your medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages. However, it’s important to remember that insurance companies are for-profit businesses. Their goal is to pay out as little as possible on claims to maximize their profits.

When you file a claim, the insurance adjuster assigned to your case usually offers an initial settlement soon after the accident. This first offer is almost always a “lowball” offer, far less than your claim is worth. There are a few reasons why they do this.

Insurance Companies Hope You’ll Accept a Quick Settlement Without Talking to a Lawyer

The bills can pile up quickly when you’re hurt in an accident. You might have to pay for an ambulance ride, hospital stay, surgery, medication, and follow-up doctor visits. If your injuries are serious, you may be unable to work and earn money. This can make it very tempting to accept the first settlement offer from the insurance company, even if it’s much lower than you deserve.

Insurance companies know that many injury victims are in a tough financial spot. They try to take advantage of this by offering a quick settlement soon after the accident. They hope you’ll take the money immediately to pay your bills without talking to a personal injury lawyer first.

The insurance company doesn’t want you to know that if you accept their lowball offer, you’ll likely be giving up your right to get any more money in the future, even if your injuries turn out to be more serious than you thought. That’s why it’s so important to have a lawyer review any settlement offer before you sign anything. A good attorney will ensure you understand your claim’s full value and advise whether the offer is fair.

Insurance Companies Want to Settle Before the Full Extent of Your Injuries Is Known

Some accident injuries are immediately obvious, like broken bones or deep cuts. However, other injuries may not show up or cause problems until later.

For example, you might feel okay after a car accident but wake up the next day with severe neck or back pain. Or you might hit your head and think it’s just a minor bump, but later develop headaches, dizziness, or memory problems.

Certain injuries, like concussions or spine injuries, can take time to fully manifest and may require ongoing medical treatment well into the future. The insurance company knows this and wants to get you to settle quickly before the true extent of your injuries is known.

If you accept an early settlement offer, you may be left without enough money to pay future medical bills, lost income, and other damages. Your personal injury lawyer will ensure any settlement accounts for your current losses and anticipated future needs. If necessary, they will have medical experts review your records and provide opinions on your prognosis and future care requirements.

Insurance Companies Often Ignore Pain and Suffering and Other Non-Economic Losses

After an accident, focusing first on your economic losses like medical expenses and missed paychecks is natural. But if you’ve suffered a severe injury, you may also be experiencing significant “non-economic” losses like pain, suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.

For example, maybe your injuries have left you in constant pain that makes it hard to sleep or enjoy activities you once loved. Maybe you’ve developed anxiety, depression, or PTSD after a traumatic accident. Or perhaps your injuries prevent you from playing with your kids or being intimate with your spouse.

These types of losses are very real and can have a huge impact on your life, but they can be harder to quantify than medical bills. The insurance company knows that pain and suffering damages are subjective, so they often leave them out of initial settlement offers completely.

An experienced personal injury lawyer will ensure that your non-economic losses are well documented and fight for compensation for these damages. Your attorney may also have you keep a journal to record how your injuries have impacted your daily life.

Your attorney may also interview your friends and family members who can attest to the changes they’ve seen in you. By thoroughly proving your pain and suffering, a lawyer can often get you a settlement that is several times larger than one that only covers economic losses.

Insurance Companies Use Low Offers to Test Your Knowledge of Your Claim’s Value

Insurance adjusters handle injury claims every day. They know that most accident victims have no idea what their case is truly worth, so they often use lowball settlement offers to test whether you understand the value of your claim.

Two men reviewing and signing documents in front of cars after an accident.

If you accept their low initial offer without question, the insurance company will know they can get away with paying you less than you deserve. But if you push back on a lowball offer and demand more money, the adjuster will likely realize you’ve done your homework and/or have a lawyer advising you.

Remember, the insurance adjuster’s job is to settle claims for as little as possible. They will not offer you top dollar right out of the gate. But if you show them you mean business by rejecting lowball offers and negotiating for a fairer amount, you have a better chance of ultimately getting the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

Of course, negotiating with insurance companies is not something you should tackle on your own. Personal injury law is complex, and insurance adjusters are very good at what they do. That’s why it’s critical to have an experienced personal injury lawyer in your corner who knows how to build a strong case, value your damages, and negotiate aggressively with the insurance company.

What Your Claim Is Really Worth

To fully understand why the insurance company’s offer is too low, you must know what damages you can seek compensation for after an accident. An experienced personal injury lawyer will identify your losses and assign an appropriate value to each.

These damages may include:

  • Past and future medical expenses related to your injury
  • Lost income from missed work
  • Reduced future earning capacity if your injuries affect your ability to work
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium
  • Out-of-pocket expenses (e.g., transportation to medical appointments, home modifications)
  • Property damage

A lawyer will gather evidence such as medical records and bills, pay stubs, expert opinions, journal entries, and testimony from you and your loved ones to prove the extent of your damages. In a serious injury case, your economic losses alone may be hundreds of thousands or more. Your non-economic losses are more subjective but may be several times higher than your economic damages.

Insurance companies know that most accident victims won’t have this level of proof to back up their claims. They make low offers, hoping claimants will simply take what they can get. But if you’ve suffered a severe injury due to someone else’s negligence, you deserve compensation for all your losses—not just a small fraction of them.

How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help

Pursuing a personal injury claim and negotiating with insurance companies is a complex process with potential pitfalls. Without experienced legal representation, you are at a major disadvantage. The insurance adjuster does this for a living, and their job performance is judged by how little they pay out on claims like yours.

Hiring a seasoned personal injury lawyer levels the playing field. A good attorney can handle every aspect of your claim and fight tenaciously for the maximum compensation you deserve. Here are some of the key ways a lawyer will help:

Investigating Your Accident to Gather Critical Evidence

Your lawyer will look into your accident to find evidence that proves it was the other party’s fault. This may include talking to witnesses, getting police reports, and studying photos or videos of the accident scene.

Identifying All Potential Sources of Recovery

There may be multiple insurance policies or assets that can provide compensation for your injuries. Your attorney will track down all possible sources of recovery to maximize the money available.

Documenting Your Injuries and Damages

To prove what your claim is worth, your lawyer will gather your medical records and bills. They may also have you keep a journal about your pain levels and how your injuries impact your daily life.

Handling Communications and Negotiations with the Insurance Company

Dealing with insurance companies can be stressful and confusing. Your lawyer will take over this process for you. They will field all calls and letters from the insurer and negotiate on your behalf.

Advising You on Accepting a Settlement vs. Going to Trial

Your attorney will advise you when to settle your case or take it to court. They will weigh your case’s strengths and weaknesses and explain the risks and rewards of each option.

Preparing Your Case for Trial

Your lawyer will prepare your case for trial if you cannot reach a fair settlement. This involves interviewing witnesses, hiring experts, preparing exhibits, and practicing arguments.

Meeting Deadlines and Following Laws

Legal cases have strict deadlines and rules. Your lawyer will handle everything properly and on time so you don’t lose your right to sue.

Resolving Healthcare Liens

If your health insurance paid for your accident treatment, they may put a lien on your settlement. Your lawyer will negotiate with lienholders to minimize what you owe, so you keep more money.

Don’t Leave Money on the Table

Studies have shown that injury victims who hire a lawyer recover, on average, more compensation than those who represent themselves, even after accounting for attorney fees. In major injury cases, the difference can be even greater. Insurance companies simply don’t offer unrepresented claimants top dollar because they know most won’t have the knowledge, skills, or resources to prove the full value of their damages.

Insurance form with money, car keys, and a toy car on top.

When you hire a personal injury lawyer, you send a clear signal to the insurance company that you mean business and won’t be fooled by lowball tactics. Your attorney will submit a demand letter detailing your damages and attaching supporting documentation. The insurance adjuster will be forced to reevaluate their offer.

Often, the threat of a lawyer filing a lawsuit is enough to bring the insurance company to the negotiating table with a fair settlement offer. Your lawyer will advise you on the risks and benefits of accepting the offer vs. proceeding to trial. If you do not receive a satisfactory settlement offer, your lawyer will be ready to argue your case in front of a jury and ask them to award you fair compensation.

Too many accident victims assume the insurance company will do the right thing and pay what they owe. Unfortunately, it rarely works that way.

Insurance companies will use every trick to devalue, delay, and deny personal injury claims. The best way to combat these tactics and pursue the full and fair compensation you deserve is to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after your accident.

Don’t make the costly mistake of accepting a lowball settlement offer from the insurance company without consulting a lawyer. You might be leaving tens of thousands of dollars or more on the table. Most reputable lawyers offer free initial consultations and work on a contingency fee, meaning you pay nothing upfront and only owe a fee if they win money for you.

Don’t Settle for Less Than You Deserve – Call a Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you’ve suffered an injury due to someone else’s negligence, it’s best to speak with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer immediately to understand your rights and options. Don’t go up against the insurance company alone.

With an aggressive attorney in your corner, you can focus on your physical recovery while they handle the legal battle and fight for every penny you deserve. Call today for a free case evaluation. The consultation is free; you have nothing to lose and potentially much to gain.

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