How Do I Know If My Car Accident Settlement Offer is Fair?

5-7 minute read | Published: March 28, 2024 | Updated: April 17, 2024

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car accident fair settlement

A fair settlement in a car accident case is one that covers all existing losses and expenses. In the most basic sense, it should cover your medical bills, property damage costs and lost income.

But if you have been seriously injured, then you need more compensation than that. Here are crucial questions that will help you decide if the insurance company’s settlement offer is fair:

Do You Know How Much You Are Entitled to Claim?

Some vehicular accidents involve serious injuries that may not be evident at the onset. The circumstances of the accident need to be evaluated carefully and you should wait until you’ve reached maximum medical improvement in order to have a clear understanding of the cost of your treatment.

Insurance companies usually make settlement offers based on cases they have settled in the past. Also, they want to limit their payout as much as possible.

But a quick settlement offer will likely not compensate for future medical bills.

You may also seek compensation for:

  • Property damage
  • Lost wages
  • Diminished earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Does the Settlement Include All Your Lost Earnings?

The settlement should also cover lost wages and any potential income you should have received such as bonuses, commissions, employment benefits, a raise and others. If your injury keeps you from returning to work, then your computation for lost earnings should include this up to the time you can go back to work.

Does It Compensate for Your Non-Economic Damages?

Non-economic damages provide you with compensation for intangible losses that resulted from your car accident injury, including:

Pain and Suffering

Burns, broken bones and concussions often result from car accidents and the serious discomfort you will experience will last for weeks, months or even years.

Emotional Distress

For those who have been injured in a car collision, the experience can be very traumatic. This is especially true if you have been permanently disabled or disfigured from the accident. You could develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), phobia, depression, anxiety or a change in personality.

emotional distress from a car accident

Loss of Consortium

Your injuries might prevent you from playing with your kids or be intimate with your spouse. You should seek compensation for the loss of these essential aspects of your relationships.

Diminished Quality of Life

If your injuries cause you to no longer enjoy your life as much as you used to, then you have the right to claim damages. For example, if you used to play golf every weekend and are now unable to, due to a long-term injury in your leg caused by the accident, then you should seek compensation.

What’s the Potential Compensation If Your Case Proceeded to Trial?

It’s crucial for accident victims to have a clear idea of how much compensation they could get if their case went to court. It’s risky to go to trial but if you stand to get substantially more and you have a strong case, it may be worth it. Moreover,  insurance companies are aware of the financial risks if the court finds liability on their part and would probably be willing to make a better settlement offer.

Should I Accept The Insurance Company’s First Offer?

In general, it’s not recommended that you accept the first offer from the insurance company. The first offer is usually the lowest amount they’re willing to part with and it may take several rounds of negotiations to arrive at a fair settlement.

refusing the first offer

Sadly, a lot of car accident victims are tempted to accept the initial offer because their medical bills are piling up. But you need to evaluate the potential settlement first before accepting.

Insurance companies may employ strategies that will force you to accept their offer even though it’s not the amount you deserve. They may:

Settle early and quickly.

Insurance companies may make a settlement offer before the accident victims grasp the complete scope of their injuries, damages, and costs.

Ask for a recorded statement.

A recorded statement cannot benefit your case but instead, it could harm it. They may use any information you disclose to diminish or even dismiss your claim.

Downplay your injuries.

The company’s insurance adjuster may insist that your injuries are not as serious as you have claimed.

Undervalue your losses.

The insurance company might refuse to cover some expenses or only offer to pay a portion of what you should be getting.

Use bad faith practices.

If the insurance company or its representatives try to pressure you into accepting a settlement offer, it could be that they’re doing some bad faith insurance practice. You can read more about it here.

car accident medical treatment

The job of an insurance adjuster is not to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve but rather, to protect their company’s bottom line. You need to aggressively negotiate with them to get a fair settlement offer.

Category: Your Legal Rights