When is it time to settle? This is an important question, and one that is not nearly as straightforward as it initially seems. Protecting your rights after an auto accident can be challenging, especially if you have suffered a serious injury; and, while it is natural to want to resolve your claim as quickly as possible, it is critical not to overlook the fact that securing just compensation may be critical to your financial stability and long-term recovery.
With this in mind, accepting an insurance settlement is not a decision to be taken lightly. To avoid settling too soon (and leaving money on the table), here are five important considerations to keep in mind:
1. Do you know the full extent of your financial losses?
Once you accept a settlement, your case is over. The paperwork you sign when you accept the settlement will include a waiver of your right to seek any additional compensation. As a result, before you settle, it is critical to make sure you have a clear understanding of your current and future financial losses. How long will you be out of work? What types of ongoing medical treatment will you need? If you have not assessed the long-term financial consequences of your injuries, you cannot make an informed decision about settling your claim.
2. How else will your injuries impact your life?
Beyond compensation for financial losses, Florida law entitles accident victims to just compensation for certain non-financial losses as well. Are you entitled to compensation for pain and suffering? For loss of consortium or companionship? If so, how much? In many cases, these losses can make up the majority of accident victims’ claims for financial compensation.
3. Does the evidence support a larger settlement amount?
In order to negotiate for a larger settlement, the evidence will need to be in your favor. So, is it? Is it clear that the insurance company is trying to get out of the case with a low-ball settlement offer? Or, is the offer reasonable in light of the relevant evidence, including any evidence that you may have played a role in causing the accident?
4. How long has it been since the accident?
When there is strong evidence of liability, the insurance companies will often try to tempt accident victims into settling quickly, before they have the information they need to fully protect their rights. If your settlement offer seems to have come “too quickly” or “too easily,” there is a good chance that you are entitled to more.
5. Are you prepared to take your case to trial?
When you reject a settlement offer, the offer comes off of the table. The insurance company is under no obligation to allow you to reconsider, and there is no guarantee that you will receive another offer in the future. As a result, while you need to carefully assess the consequences of settling, you need to assess the consequences of not settling as well. If another offer does not come, are you prepared to take your case to trial?
Speak with a Defuniak Springs Car Accident Lawyer in Confidence
If you are dealing with the insurance claim process following an auto accident in the Florida Panhandle, we encourage you to contact us to discuss your case. One of our attorneys will be happy to meet with you in confidence to help you understand your legal rights. For a free, no-obligation consultation, call our offices at (850) 682-2757, or submit our consultation request form and we will be in touch with you shortly.