Car crash victims have many legal rights, including the right to reject an insurance settlement offer that does not provide all the compensation you need.
Insurance companies want victims to believe they will not receive any compensation if they reject the first offer, but this is not necessarily true, especially if you hire a licensed attorney to negotiate on your behalf.
This blog explains what happens when crash victims reject settlement offers and why it is often a good idea to reject the first offer. Galloway Jefcoat’s Lafayette-based car accident attorneys help crash victims with the legal process every day, at no upfront cost.
Call our office to learn if you may have a case: (337) 984-8020.
Can You Continue Negotiating After Rejecting a Settlement Offer?
Contrary to what some crash victims might think, or what the insurance company would like them to believe, rejecting a settlement offer does not necessarily end the legal process. Victims and their attorneys may still be able to negotiate for a better offer.
This is an important point because the initial offer from the insurance company is often significantly lower than the potential value of your claim. Insurers make these offers hoping crash victims will accept because they are desperate for compensation.
If you accept a lowball offer, your compensation is likely to run out before you have paid all your medical expenses. Once the money runs out, you may not be able to get additional medical care unless you can pay for it out of your own pocket. Medical care for a car crash injury is not cheap, so trying to pay for it yourself might not be possible.
This is just one reason why it is often best to reject the first settlement offer. Here are some of the other reasons:
- You have severe injuries that have caused a permanent disability and created a need for long-term medical care
- The settlement does not include pain and suffering
- You suspect the insurance company is not negotiating in good faith
- You are unsure how much compensation you will need in the future, such as compensation for medical treatment or loss of earning capacity
- The insurance company seems to be trying to rush you into making a decision
- The settlement does not provide for lost wages or loss of earning capacity
Although the aftermath of a car crash is a stressful time, you should not feel rushed to decide to accept or reject a settlement offer.
What Are the Next Steps After Rejecting an Offer?
Once your lawyer rejects an offer, he or she can make a counteroffer. In fact, the insurance company and your lawyer might make multiple offers before reaching an agreement on a settlement.
If negotiations are unsuccessful, your lawyer may be able to file a lawsuit. However, there could be other steps in between negotiations and the filing of a lawsuit, such as an independent medical examination.
It is also important to note that your lawyer is unlikely to make a formal settlement offer until you reach maximum medical improvement. This is the point at which you have fully healed or your healing has stopped and is unlikely to continue.
Can You Change Your Mind After You Have Accepted an Offer?
You may still be able to negotiate after verbally accepting an offer, but not signing anything. However, if you signed the offer, this usually means the legal process has concluded. That means you cannot continue negotiating for more compensation.
There may be rare exceptions when a settlement agreement cannot be enforced because the insurance company committed fraud. However, it is difficult to prove fraud.
This is why victims need to make sure the settlement provides all the compensation they are likely to need.
Hiring an attorney is a critical step in pursuing full compensation. The attorneys at Galloway Jefcoat know how to evaluate car crash claims because of our decades of experience.
Some of the advantages of hiring an attorney include:
- Speaking to the insurance company on your behalf
- Calculating your current and ongoing expenses from the incident
- Negotiating with the insurance company
- Advocating for your interests throughout the process
- Knowing how to counter bad faith tactics
- Helping you gather the relevant documents for your claim
- Filing a lawsuit if the insurance company does not increase its offer
- Keeping you informed at each stage of the process
- Allowing you to focus on your medical care and avoiding the stress of the legal process
While every case is unique, those who hire attorneys are often able to secure more compensation. This is partly because a lawyer can file a lawsuit, which causes insurance companies to take cases more seriously. Insurers would like to avoid going to court.
How Do I Reject a Settlement Offer?
While it is your right to reject a settlement offer, this is something that you should allow your attorney to handle. In fact, you should discuss whether rejecting the offer is the best course of action. An experienced attorney can evaluate your situation to determine if the settlement provides all the compensation that you are likely to need. If it does not, your attorney can formally reject the offer in writing and make a counteroffer.
Contact Galloway Jefcoat to Discuss Your Potential Case
Do you have any questions about compensation for a car crash injury?
Insurance companies can make acquiring a fair settlement challenging, especially if you try to go through the process alone.
If you are unsure what the next step you should take in the legal process, Galloway Jefcoat is here to help. Our Lafayette attorneys have helped crash victims recover fair compensation for decades, and our services come with no upfront costs.
Call our office today to set up a free case review. (337) 984-8020