Posted in Personal Injury on July 14, 2023
When an injury occurs due to the negligent actions of another party, such as another individual, entity, or business, victims may be able to recover compensation for their losses. In most cases, this compensation will come in the form of a settlement from an insurance carrier. However, injury victims should be wary of settlement offers from insurance carriers, and we strongly encourage individuals to reach out to a skilled Long Beach personal injury lawyer who can help them through this process.
Be Wary of the First Offer
It is not uncommon for insurance carriers to make a settlement offer relatively soon after an injury occurs. On the surface, this quick settlement offer may seem wonderful, particularly if the injury victim has experienced significant financial setbacks as a result of the incident and the injury. However, please understand that the first settlement offer presented by insurance carriers is often far below what the claim is actually worth.
Why would an insurance carrier put forth an offer that is low?
There are various reasons why an insurance carrier would do this, but mainly this is due to profit. Insurance carriers lose money when they have to pay out on any settlement, so the less they pay, the more they are able to pad their bottom line. Insurance claims adjusters are trained to look out for reasons to offer low settlements or deny the claim altogether.
We want you to understand that a claimant can reject the first settlement offer and still end up receiving compensation. Think of the first offer from the insurance carrier as the starting point in negotiations.
Deciding on a Settlement
The vast majority of injury claims in California are resolved through settlements with insurance carriers, so a settlement is not necessarily a bad thing. However, the settlement has to be worth it for the injury victim.
When evaluating whether or not to accept a settlement, you need to ask yourself whether the amount offered will cover all of the expenses associated with the injury. This includes, but is not necessarily limited to, the following:
- All medical bills associated with the injury
- Any out-of-pocket household losses associated with the incident
- Property damage expenses
- Lost current and future earnings
- Pain and suffering damages
- Loss of quality of life damages
There are other factors that could influence settlement amounts, including shared fault. In California, the state operates under a pure comparative negligence system. This means individuals can recover compensation even if they are up to 99% responsible for the incident. However, individuals will receive reduced compensation if they shared fault for causing their own injuries. If there was any shared fault involved in the incident, the settlement may not be as high as expected.
We strongly encourage you to reach out to a skilled car accident lawyer in Long Beach who has experience handling negotiations with insurance carriers. Insurance claims adjusters will be much more cautious about approaching you if you have an advocate by your side with extensive legal experience. Your lawyer will be trained and negotiating with insurance carriers, and they will handle the back-and-forth communication on your behalf. When you have an attorney, you will be able to focus on recovering from your injuries. Contact us today!