Involved in a Truck Accident: Is Accepting the Settlement Offer a Good Idea?
Following a truck accident that was not your fault, your insurance company will likely come back to you with the offer of a settlement. To the average victim, uninitiated in the details of personal injury law, it can be impossible to determine if the settlement figure is fair. As a result, making a decision on whether or not to accept the offer becomes difficult.
The fact is, depending on the details of the case, sometimes it is in a victim’s best interests to accept the settlement offer. For help deciding on your course of action, contact an attorney with experience in handling truck accident cases. They can draw on a wealth of experience and will have a strong indication of how much your case is worth based on their handling previous cases of a similar nature.
For more information, contact Keller & Keller’s semi truck accident lawyers.
Calculating the Strength of the Offer
Insurance companies will often attempt to low ball the victim in the initial settlement offer. Insurance companies make their profits by keeping their expenses low. As a result, you can be assured that the first settlement offer will be little more than an attempt to keep their payout a small as possible.
To calculate the strength of the insurance company’s offer you will need to have a rough idea of the following:
- The cost of your vehicle repairs (or the vehicle’s valuation at the time of the accident).
- The cost of medical treatment you have received as a result of the accident (including future prescriptions and follow-up treatments).
- Time off work as a result of the accident.
- Lost earnings as a result of time off.
- Additional expenses incurred as a result of the accident (these might include rental cars, public transportation costs, or additional childcare costs).
- Physical pain and discomfort
- Mental anguish
In Rejecting a Settlement, you are not Rejecting Your Right to Compensation
One common misconception that insurance companies like to promote is the notion that settlements are “now or never” offers. Victims often believe that unless they accept the first settlement offer, they will not receive any other form of financial compensation.
This is not the case. The first settlement offer is merely the beginning of negotiations between the victim, their legal counsel, and the insurance company. Following the rejection of the initial settlement, the victim and their counsel can make a counteroffer.
Alternatively, if the victim wishes to reject the settlement claim altogether and bring the case to trial and let the court system determine the value of the claim, they may do so. Trials are highly expensive for insurance companies and most will wish to avoid going to the courts at all costs. Don’t be surprised if the rejection of the first claim and the threat of trial inspires the insurance company to come back with a significantly improved settlement offer.
Because of the extensive legal experience required in evaluating a settlement offer, as well as the legal knowledge required to represent a victim at trial, victims that consult legal counsel and secure the help of an attorney are at a significant advantage when negotiating with insurance companies