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Make sure your settlement offer is reasonable after a crash

June 28, 2018

Millions of people across Texas travel in personal vehicles every day. The vast majority of them make it to their destinations without any real issues, but a few end up in crashes or collisions. Some of those people end up suffering serious injuries, while others can die as a result of a traffic accident.

If you’ve been paying your insurance premium on time for years and have never had a major claim, you may expect your insurance company to take good care of you. That could be a mistake that could cost you many thousands of dollars in the wake of your accident caused by another driver.

Insurance companies are typically trying to limit expenses

Most motor vehicle insurance companies operate as for-profit entities. Even those that don’t still try to keep their overall expenses as low as possible. Insurance companies will have basic overhead expenses, like building costs, salaries for workers and the necessary equipment to do business. One expense they will do their best to limit, however, is liability to their policy holders.

When you file a claim related to a crash that caused serious injuries, your insurance company will start looking at you as a liability, not as a valued customer who pays his or her premium on time each month. The company will want to limit how much they pay out to you, whether or not that leaves you with a substantial financial burden. Sometimes that means denying a claim. Other times, it means a lowball settlement offer.

Settlement offers are often lower than they should be at first

One of the ways that insurance companies limit how much they have to pay out on claims is the practice of offering low initial settlements. After suffering serious injuries in a crash, you’re likely going to experience some financial hardship. You may not have enough income to cover your standard monthly bills, like your mortgage and utilities, let alone the increasing stack of medical bills related to your injury.

The responsible insurance company hopes that you’ll be too desperate to really consider their offer. On first glance, it may even seem generous. However, you should carefully go over the costs from your injuries before agreeing to anything.

Make sure an offer you consider is fair and reasonable

Look at all of your current medical costs, as well as your lost wages. Consider the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle. Then, add in likely future medical expenses, including physical therapy and any surgeries you will need later. If that amount is higher than your settlement offer, that’s a good sign that the offer you have received is too low.

You should be prepared to push back against a low offer by countering it with a more reasonable amount or providing your insurance company with documentation that your expenses have already exceeded the offered amount.

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