Don’t Take the Insurance Company’s First Offer
Most of us have some experience working with an insurance adjuster, whether it was to be reimbursed for a minor fender bender, negotiate a medical bill, or figure out how to replace your home’s roof after severe wind damage. However, if you’ve been in a car crash that left you with serious injuries, you need to follow the proper steps to ensure your insurance claim is handled correctly and that you get fair compensation for the car accident. Central to this is making sure you don’t take the insurance provider’s first offer.
For help working through this difficult process, call us at Abrahamson Law Office. Located in Omaha, Nebraska, we can represent clients in Sarpy County, Douglas County, Washington County, Saunders County, Otoe County, and Dodge County.
An Insurance Company’s Response to an Accident Claim
It’s not uncommon for an insurance adjuster to call you within one or two days after an accident trying to get information from you. They’ll ask you to provide an official statement about how and why the accident occurred and may even ask for this to be recorded. You should always refuse this and simply tell them you'll provide a statement after you’ve spoken with your lawyer.
By getting this information early, they’re hoping to lock you into a statement that can then be used to lower the final settlement and not give you any time to consult with a personal injury attorney or determine what your cumulative medical expenses after a car accident would be.
Other times, they may actively avoid you, hoping that you’ll give up on your car accident claim and stop pursuing a settlement. They may also be hoping that you’ll accept an offer before you’ve done your research and that you’ll take an amount that is far lower than you deserve.
Reasons You Should Refuse
In almost all cases, the first offer made by the insurance company will be a lowball offer. Insurance adjusters have a lot of claims to handle and they typically try to close these as quickly as possible. This means they’ll try to float you a lower offer after doing minimal investigation hoping you’ll say yes.
Depending on your injuries, you could still be recovering and in pain or are already getting worried about how you’ll pay medical bills. They’re hoping you’ll be desperate enough to say yes. While you may be feeling the strain of mounting bills, you should always refuse this and instead contact a car accident attorney who will take the time to thoroughly evaluate your case, work with you to address your concerns, and negotiate on your behalf with the insurance company.
Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)
One important concept to understand during this process is what maximum medical improvement (MMI) means and how it affects your final settlement. MMI is the point at which an accident victim is either fully recovered from their injuries or a doctor has determined they’re unlikely to keep improving even with continuing medical intervention. It’s not until you reach this stage of MMI that you should ever finalize your settlement because up until now, it would have been unclear how much further medical treatment you’d need.
What Happens Next?
After you’ve rejected the insurance company’s first offer, you’ll have to work with your attorney to draft a demand letter and decide on your counteroffer. Your letter should include a detailed description of your case, including all diagnoses and current and future medical treatments you’ll need to fully recover. You’ll then engage in settlement negotiations with the insurance provider until you can both agree on fair compensation for damages.
If you’re in the Omaha, Nebraska, area and would like to speak with an attorney about a recent car accident you’ve been in, contact us at Abrahamson Law Office today.