Don't Take the First Offer the Insurance Company Gives You
Settling a personal injury claim after a car accident appears to be straightforward. The company’s insured caused an accident, and as a result, you face injuries. You have medical bills and have lost time at work. Therefore, they should pay.
What you may not be considering is the basic principle of insurance company profitability. That is to pay nothing or as little as possible for claims, no matter what. Insurance company adjusters have become quite adept at tactics they can use to accomplish that goal, such as offering you far below fair compensation for a car accident.
At Adams Cross, LLC, we know how insurance companies work to preserve their bottom line. That is why we work even harder to represent those filing car accident claims in Olathe, Lawrence, Johnson County, Wyandotte County, Kansas, and throughout the Kansas City Metro area.
How Do Insurance Companies Respond to Kansas Accident Claims?
Avoidance is usually the first tactic employed by insurance companies when you file a Kansas accident claim. The adjuster may acknowledge your claim and assign a claim number, often followed by silence. They may not return calls after you leave voicemails or respond to emails or other correspondence.
Especially in a no-fault state like Kansas, where your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage pays your medical bills and other expenses first, regardless of fault, the adjuster is hoping you will give up and stop pursuing a third-party liability claim against their insured’s policy.
If you do hear from the insurance company, it will probably be with a settlement offer. That offer will invariably be far too low to fully compensate you for your damages. The adjuster, however, will hope that by now, you are financially desperate enough to take the offer.
Why Should I Refuse the First Offer From the Insurance Company?
As tempting as it might be to take the initial settlement sum offered, you should refuse it for multiple reasons. Moreover, you should talk to a car accident attorney if you have not already done so. Otherwise, the insurance company will take advantage of you.
The initial settlement offer will be low because if the adjuster can get you to accept it, they are done with your insurance claim. You cannot go back later and ask for more from the insurance company or its insured negligent driver.
How do you know how much is fair? Again, you should talk to a personal injury attorney about the value of your claim. You may be able to add up your medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses you have incurred due to your injuries. However, there is also a value for your non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, that an attorney can help you ascertain.
Settling quickly also does not give you the time you need to know the full value of your cumulative medical expenses after a car accident. Your doctor needs to determine whether you have reached maximum medical improvement. If you are going to require additional surgical intervention, rehabilitation, or incur any other future expenses, those must be included in the value of your damages.
What Is Maximum Medical Improvement?
Maximum medical improvement, or “MMI,” refers to the extent to which you can recover from your injuries. Some people can recover to the state they were in prior to the car crash.
For example, you are in a car accident and are diagnosed with a broken leg. You have it cast and booted, follow the treatment plan prescribed by your doctor, and comply with a course of physical therapy. Once you do, you can use your leg the same way you could before the crash, meaning you have reached MMI.
Unfortunately, some people are not as fortunate. As another example, your diagnosis following a car accident is a torn rotator cuff. You have it surgically repaired, follow the doctor’s treatment plan, and complete all physical therapy, but you are still experiencing pain and limited movement compared to your pre-crash condition. Your doctor may order additional physical therapy, but at a certain point, there may be no other intervention, surgical or otherwise, that will improve your condition. You will suffer pain and limited motion for the rest of your life, but you have reached MMI, nonetheless. The fact that you have reached MMI without full pre-crash recovery adds value to your claim.
What Happens Next With My Car Accident Claim?
Once you have reached MMI, it is time to craft a settlement demand letter to submit to the insurance company. The demand letter will include all evidence regarding fault, documentation of all of your economic and non-economic damages, and a settlement sum.
Just as you should refuse the insurance company’s initial settlement offer, the insurance company will refuse your initial demand letter. When it does, your personal injury attorney will begin negotiating with the insurer until you agree to a settlement. If you do not agree to what the insurance company advises is its final offer, you can choose to file a personal injury lawsuit and make your case to a judge and jury.
Make Every Decision With Confidence
At Adams Cross, LLC, we believe that clients we work for can negotiate from a position of strength. That strength lies in our experience, knowledge, and tenacity. Even though we are the ones doing the negotiating or arguing your case to a judge and jury, you are the one making all decisions about your claim. It is our job to give you the information you need to make the best ones for you.
If you have been injured in a car accident, call our office in Olathe, Kansas, today to schedule a free case consultation. In the meantime, don’t accept the first offer the insurance company gives you. Let Adams Cross, LLC, help.