Filing an insurance claim after a car accident is one of the most effective ways to recover compensation for your damages. Unfortunately, many big insurance companies will do everything in their power to limit how much compensation you actually receive. From denying liability to low-balling your settlement, accepting the first offer from the insurance company can mean accepting far less than you are actually owed.
Which Insurer Do I Use to File a Claim?
In car accident cases, there are two possible insurance companies you can file a claim with—the at-fault driver’s insurer and your own. If another driver caused your collision, their insurance company should cover the cost of your related damages, including medical bills, lost wages, and more.
However, it is sometimes necessary to utilize your own insurance coverage, including when:
- Your damages exceed the at-fault driver’s policy limits
- The at-fault driver was uninsured
- The at-fault driver fled the scene of the accident
Although Kentucky does not require motorists to purchase uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) auto insurance, having this coverage will be an invaluable asset should you be involved in an accident that involves any of the above situations.
If you are ever unsure whether to file with the at-fault driver’s insurer, your own insurance company, or both, contact a car accident attorney in Lexington to discuss your concerns.
What Can Happen When You Reject a Settlement Offer From an Insurance Company?
You do not have to accept a settlement offer from an insurance company. Rejecting a settlement offer can be scary, though, especially if the insurance adjuster has hinted that it will be the best offer you should expect to get.
Rejecting offers is a key component of the negotiation process and not necessarily something to be afraid of. Here is what can happen when you decide that a settlement offer does not meet your financial needs, and reject it.
Negotiations May Continue
In many cases, negotiations between you and the insurance company will continue. Be cautioned that the rejected offer will likely not be available again, so be certain that rejecting it is in your best interests. If you are ever unsure of a settlement offer, defer to your lawyer’s expertise.
If you decide to reject the offer, you’ll have to provide a written statement detailing:
- Why you rejected the offer
- Why you believe you deserve higher compensation
- Your response to their reasons or justifications for the low offer
- Your counteroffer and justification for the higher amount
Make sure that your written statement is as detailed as possible. Include proof where necessary, such as medical bills or evidence of time off work.
Negotiations May Come to a Standstill
If the insurance company thinks that it is offering a fair settlement, it may reject your counteroffer and refuse to move forward with negotiations. This does not mean that your car accident claim will close without any conclusion. Instead, one of two things may happen:
- A new insurance adjuster may be assigned to your case
- You may need to take your case to court
Your Claim May Go to Court
If negotiations fail and you are not able to secure the compensation you need to fully address the entirety of your car accident damages, you will need to take your case to court. While many people attempt to negotiate with the insurance company by themselves, we do not recommend taking the insurance company to court without the backing of an experienced attorney.
In court, a car accident lawsuit will be heard in front of a jury. The other driver and their insurance company will have the backing of their own lawyers to convince the jury that their version of events is correct, so do not allow yourself to be caught off guard. Having an attorney on your side will greatly improve your chances of succeeding in court.
How To Decide Whether You Should Accept or Reject an Insurer’s Settlement Offer
Never reject a settlement offer arbitrarily. If a settlement offer fully addresses your damages, then accepting it can help you avoid going to court. When deciding whether to accept or reject a settlement offer from the insurance company, ask yourself, does this settlement:
- Replace my lost wages?
- Cover my medical expenses?
- Pay for my auto damages?
- Address my emotional anguish?
- Fully cover the entire extent of my accident-related damages?
Don’t let the pressure from the insurance company rush you into making a decision. Take your time with any offer and carefully review it under the guidance of your attorney. A good lawyer will make sure you understand what the settlement entails, whether they believe you deserve more, and the repercussions of rejecting it.
Don’t Handle Complex Car Accident Settlement Negotiations on Your Own
Car accident claims can be complicated, especially when the insurance company repeatedly makes unreasonably low settlement offers. Unfortunately, this is one of the many tricks and tactics that big insurers use when they are trying to run out the clock on the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit.
At the Law Office of Todd W. Burris, our attorneys have experience dealing with complex car accident negotiations. If you are unsure what will happen if you don’t settle with your insurance company or are struggling to handle negotiations for a car accident claim you are currently dealing with, contact us today for the opportunity to talk with an attorney at no cost. We offer free consultations to injury victims in Lexington, and there is never any obligation to employ the services of our law firm.