If you are ever in an accident, chances are you’ll be dealing with an adjuster. Once you file a claim, the first thing your insurance company typically does is investigate the claim. They do this by:
- Visiting the scene of the crash
- Taking photos of the scene and the damage
- Talking to their insured about what happened
- Getting a police report
- Discussing your injuries and damages with you or your attorney
Once they have gathered enough information to get a feel for what happened, they will value the case. This preliminary value often changes as the case progresses. Once the insurance adjuster has completed these initial steps, the negotiation process can begin.
Reaching Out with a Settlement Offer
Once an insurance adjuster has valued a case, he or she will sometimes reach out to the accident victim to offer a settlement. In other cases, the insurance company may wait to hear from you to see if you are going to demand a settlement amount. Not every insurance company will take the initiative to settle your case if you don’t seem like you will demand compensation or file a lawsuit. Instead, they may just sit back and hope that you go away.
In most cases, however, an insurance company who knows that their insured was at-fault will attempt to negotiate with you so they can close out their file. The claims adjuster will often offer you a small amount of money in exchange for you giving up your right to take the case to court.
Should I Take What the Insurance Company Is Offering?
The short answer is: It depends, but usually no.
In most situations, the insurance company starts with a low offer. They generally expect that you will negotiate with them. Their first offer is usually not as high as they are willing to give you to settle the case. That also means that you should almost never accept the first offer that the insurance company provides because they almost always have more funds available for your claim.
There are exceptions to this general rule, especially when their offer includes the full value of the policy limits. But in serious cases that may involve all of the policy limits, you need to talk to a lawyer before you even consider settlement.
How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help?
The insurance company is counting on you not to realize how much your case is worth. They offer small settlements at first because many people take them. The insurance company talks a victim into thinking that their claim doesn’t have much value or that they must accept this settlement offer because that is all the money they can get. In most situations, this just isn’t true—the insurance company is just using their experience against you.
Having a lawyer negotiate your settlement increases your chances of getting a fair settlement that adequately addresses the losses you experienced after an accident. The lawyers at GA Injury Advocates have enough experience to know what your case may be worth if it was tried to a judge or jury—and we can use that experience to help you with settlement negotiations. Call our team today to learn more or to schedule a free consultation: (770) 766-0555.