When a serious motor vehicle accident happens, responsibility often falls on the victim's family members to settle financial matters. Responsibilities can include paying for medical treatment, coordinating vehicle repairs and speaking with the insurance company. Between juggling these tasks, they might get a difficult offer to refuse.
After a serious accident, the insurance company may call and offer a settlement. It is in their best interest to settle matters quickly with a low ball offer. Between growing medical bills and missed wages at work, a settlement will look very appealing. So how can someone in this situation know that the settlement is fair?
Estimate car accident damages
Damages owed to the victim will depend on who was at fault for the accident. Let’s say that the accident was 100 percent the other driver’s fault. A settlement should pay for the total damages of the car accident. A first step will be to add together the cost of:
- Vehicle damage estimates from the mechanic
- Medical bills including ER costs, tests, procedures or surgery
- Missed wages
- Medication cost
Consider how this accident has psychologically affected you and your loved one. Will the injuries lead to disability? A settlement can include damages to cover emotional trauma, pain, suffering and a negative impact on quality of life. Does their offer suffice when considering the total damages?
Speak with an attorney
An attorney can determine a more accurate estimate for car accident damages and will compare it to the insurance company’s offer. If the offer is too low then you must consider if you are willing to go to court. Insurance companies may be willing to go to court, but often prefer to settle through negotiations.
Insurance companies will begin with a low offer first, knowing that negotiations are on the table. An attorney can be an advocate in all calls and meetings with the insurance company. They can conduct negotiations to achieve a more suitable settlement offer.