Settlements are not always in the victim's best interest

You've been in a serious car accident and sustained serious property damage and injuries. You are probably feeling grateful that you have a good insurance policy to protect you from financial losses. When they contact you offering a settlement, you may feel tempted to immediately take it. You've got medical bills. Your car or bike may be in desperate need of replacement or extensive repairs.

The worse your injuries, the greater the chance that you're missing work as well. That settlement check can seem like an answer to all your problems. You may feel grateful that an offer was made so soon.

However, just because you've been faithfully paying your insurance premium for years doesn't mean that your insurance company will do their best by you. In fact, in many cases insurance companies choose to look out for their executives and investors over their policy holders. Insurance companies are mostly all for-profit organizations which strive to make as much profit as possible. No matter how serious your injuries are, the insurance company wants to pay you as little as they possible can.

Insurance company settlements are often too low

Simply put, these companies often put profits before people. The settlement offer may seem generous, especially if you've been out of work for a while. However, you should carefully review your finances and records from your accident. It is a common practice for insurance companies to offer very low-ball amounts for first settlement offers. In hopes of keeping the overall costs associated with your claim low, the company will offer less than the expected overall expenses associated with your injury.

It can be hard for someone unfamiliar with such calculations to realize an offer is too low. Before you commit to a settlement either verbally or in writing, you should sit down and carefully tally up estimated expenses. How much has your medical care cost so far? How much will you need in the upcoming weeks and months? Was the damage to your vehicle extensive? How much work will you miss as a result?

Tally all those up, and if the settlement is less than that amount, you should consider countering the first offer from your insurance company.

Sometimes you have to fight for a fair offer

Once you've rejected or countered a first offer, you should take great care about how you communicate with your insurance company. They may send an adjuster, for example, to try to get you to make statements that could get construed as admissions of fault or responsibility that could later get used against you. A lawsuit may be necessary, if your insurer does not take immediate steps to review the offer and fulfill their legal obligation to you under the terms of your policy.

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