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Last Updated on November 10, 2022 by John Robinson
When you hire a personal injury attorney, their primary role is negotiating with insurance companies to help you when you’re injured in a personal injury incident, like a car or truck accident. Most personal injury claims have a resolution that comes from filing an insurance claim with the insurance carrier of the at-fault party and then accepting a settlement.
The issue can become the fact that not all settlements are fair compensation for the losses you might sustain as a victim.
A settlement offer is an attempt by one party to resolve a legal dispute without needing to resort to litigation.
The party that’s at fault is agreeing to pay a certain amount of money. The agreement is generally put in writing and contingent on the injured party agreeing to release any and all claims against the party at fault. The agreement is a contract. That contract is enforceable, and the parties involved are legally required to adhere to the terms of the agreement, including payment.
With that being said, there’s no reason you have to accept an insurance settlement offer, and we will talk more about that scenario below.
Are You Required to Accept an Offer?
If an insurance adjuster sends you a settlement offer, you absolutely don’t have to accept it. Insurance adjusters are employees of an insurance company, and they are not looking out for whatever your best interests may be. Instead, the adjuster is working to protect the interests of the insurance company they work for.
The insurance adjuster ultimately has the goal of resolving a claim for the smallest payouts possible, protecting their employer’s profit margins.
An insurance adjuster may attempt to settle your claim for a value that’s less than the cost of your medical treatment for the injuries you suffered due to the accident. You have the right to pursue compensation for all of your losses, including potential future losses.
What If You Reject an Offer?
Your attorney, if you hire one, may go back and forth at least a few times with the insurance company before you come to a resolution. If so, this means you’re rejecting at least a few settlements offers. If you reject an offer, all that happens is that your case continues. Your lawyer can continue to negotiate, or you can file a lawsuit.
If you want to refuse a settlement offer, you’ll probably do so in writing. Your attorney can outright reject the offer, or they can counter-offer with a higher amount of money.
When Should You Accept an Offer?
A personal injury attorney is ultimately your best resource to determine when a settlement offer is fair versus when it’s not.
There are times when a professional will likely tell you it’s wise to accept an offer. One is when you’ve reached what’s known as a maximum medical improvement.
When you’re injured in an accident, you’ll likely receive ongoing treatment and go through different tests and procedures. There will come the point where your doctor may say you’ve reached maximum medical improvement.
Maximum medical improvement is the point where you’ve improved as much as you can medically be expected to. You may not be back to the way you were before the accident or fully healed. This also doesn’t mean that you won’t need ongoing medical treatment, but you aren’t expected to progress much, if at all, in your recovery beyond this point.
The point of maximum medical improvement is a good time to be able to determine your treatment costs, the expenses that may be required for your ongoing care, and the impact the injury is likely to have on you going forward.
It’s important to reach the point of maximum medical improvement before you accept a settlement because after you accept an offer, you can’t usually go back and ask for money. You’re at a place with maximum medical improvement where you can estimate the value of your claim more accurately.
Another reason an attorney could indicate that it’s in your best interest to accept a settlement offer is if it’s fair. There may be an offer that comes through from the insurance company that’s going to fairly compensate you for your losses in a reasonable way and also will take into account future losses.
A third reason to accept an offer is if you have an attorney who advises you to do so.
The goal of settlements is to avoid court, and most personal injury cases do settle. If you initially turn down an offer, though, that’s okay and even expected because it’s a negotiation process.
If you are looking for an attorney in Jacksonville, Florida, you can look up harrellandharrell.com for all your needs.
Howdy! I’m John Robinson from Levittown, New York. I am a mechanical engineer for 15 years and already had an established car repair company. I developed a personal relationship with cars since I was a kid. I always love the sounds and smell emitted by a car or truck and even at construction machinery. Since then I have been married but my love for cars only grew.