You didn’t expect a car crash. You may have been on your way to work or to pick up the children from sleepaway camp when someone else smashed into your vehicle. The consequences of a collision involved short-term disruption to your life as you must wait for police officers to come and investigate the wreck, as well as the possibility of significant property damage costs and injuries.
If you anticipate major expenses, you will likely need to make a claim against them the other driver’s insurance coverage. If the adjuster handling your claim offers a settlement, should you accept it quickly?
Not all settlements are created equal
There is no one right answer regarding whether or not you should accept a settlement because every crash scenario and insurance settlement offer is unique. To reasonably determine whether you should accept the settlement or not, you need to establish what the crash will cost you.
Reviewing your current expenses, including your hospital bills and vehicle repair costs, is a smart starting point. You also need to think about future losses. Will you need additional medical care later? Will it be some time before you go back to work? You may have additional medical bills and lost wages to claim.
If your vehicle is not a total loss but instead in a condition that requires repairs, you may find that the repaired damage diminishes your vehicle’s value when you trade it in at a dealership or sell it on the secondhand market. You may be able to clean that diminished value in addition to your other losses.
What if the settlement is too low?
If you look over the settlement offer and compare it with your current and likely future expenses, you may discover that it’s far too low. You may have to submit additional documentation to the insurance company and present a counter-offer based on your costs and the coverage available.
However, you need to recognize that the policy limits the maximum amount of compensation possible. There is a point after which the insurance company will no longer pay for additional expenses. People will need to look into litigation against the other driver when there is too little insurance coverage for their needs. Others will need to prepare for aggressive insurance negotiation and possibly litigation if the company won’t offer a reason for a settlement.
Knowing how to handle insurance matters after a motor vehicle collision can help you move on with your life without absorbing all the costs yourself.