After an accident, you will likely hear from insurance adjusters very soon after. If you experienced a life-altering event such as a serious injury, car crash, dog bite, defective product injury or a workplace accident, the at-fault party’s insurance will contact you with its first settlement offer.
The initial offer might seem enticing and in the confusing aftermath of an accident, you might feel tempted to sign the agreement. However, the initial settlement offer is usually only a fraction of the full cost of your suffering.
Calculate the cost of your injuries.
The full cost of your personal injury incident involves many factors. You should ask yourself the following questions:
- Did my injuries cause me to lose out on work and wages?
- Will I not recover for a while and end up losing future wages?
- How much was my personal property damaged?
- Do I have a diagnosed mental condition as a result of the accident?
- Will a relative need to leave his or her own job to take care of me?
- Do my injuries diminish my personal life?
- Do I have lasting injuries that will require disability benefits?
These expenses, along with initial costs such as ambulance fees, emergency room care, and vehicle repairs, paint a better picture of the extent of your serious injuries.
What to do next
Insurance companies contact injury victims soon after the accident as a business strategy. They hope you will accept the lowball settlement because the first offer will typically not come close to covering your full financial burden. As such, you should never sign an offer without first seeking the advice of an attorney.
Be weary of how and when you speak to the insurance adjusters as they will hold you to any sort of agreement to their offer, even if you only confirm verbally.