What Happens if You do not Accept a Settlement?
If you reject a settlement offer, then it is terminated. From this point, you can begin to negotiate a better settlement agreement. You cannot accept a settlement offer once it has been rejected. However, the insurance company’s first offer is almost always much less than what you deserve.
In most cases rejecting the first offer is the first step to fair compensation. Unless your case has little backing and you have just been offered a couple of hundred dollars as a goodwill gesture, your insurance adjuster will expect you to reject the first offer, at which point the negotiation process will begin.
If you or someone you love has suffered a personal injury, then expenses can quickly mount up, paired with lost income; this is not a position that anybody wants to be in. Once you accept a settlement offer, you lose your right to fight for more. Therefore, you should first seek advice from an attorney who has experience in personal injury cases.
At Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, we offer a free consultation to all personal injury victims, so you can seek legal counsel before you make a decision. Our personal injury lawyers work on a no-win no-fee basis, so if you do accept representation, then you can never be left out of pocket.
Remember, insurance companies are driven by profit and will fight tirelessly to avoid paying you what you are owed. When you have legal representation from us, we will give you the best chance at securing the compensation you deserve. We will collect strong evidence and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. We will always keep you informed and will give you options at every stage.
When you have experienced representation, you can focus on what’s really important – your recovery.
Contact us today at 512-520-8100 to arrange a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney.
What To Do After Receiving a Settlement Offer
Before you accept the initial settlement offer, you should seek a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer who can advise you based on your specific circumstances. They will be able to make a quick assessment as to what your case should be worth and whether the offer that has been presented to you is a valid one.
Based on this advice, you may decide to still accept the offer that has been presented to you, or if your attorney thinks you have a good claim and you decide to continue with representation, then they will take over the negotiations to fight for a better settlement.
You and your attorney will write a demand letter to the insurance company, which will be an opportunity for you to tell your side of the story. It will include details of what happened, who you believe to be at fault, the damages you have suffered so far, and how long your recovery is likely to be. It will also include a settlement figure that you would be willing to accept.
When you have an experienced personal injury lawyer by your side, the insurance adjuster assigned to your case will know that they cannot get away with a lowball offer. They are likely to respond with a counteroffer, which you may accept, or if not, your case could require further negotiations.
It is likely that your insurance adjuster and your attorney will exchange further letters to reach a fair settlement. Once a settlement has been accepted, your attorney will take their percentage (as agreed upon beforehand), and the rest will be yours.
If a fair settlement cannot be agreed upon, then your personal injury attorney may need to advocate on your behalf in court. Court proceedings take time and are costly, and often best to be avoided. However, your attorney should be prepared to go to court. Even the threat of a potential court case is often enough to make insurance adjusters offer a higher settlement, as they will not want to risk losing more in court.
When Should I Accept a Settlement?
When you have representation from a personal injury attorney, you will have the opportunity to discuss each settlement offer with them to determine the pros and cons of accepting. They will help you consider factors such as:
- Does the settlement offer cover your economic losses as a result of the accident, both now and in the future?
- Has your emotional pain and suffering been properly considered, and is it reflected in the offer?
- Is the figure above or close to what you determined to be an acceptable offer?
- Do you have a complete idea of what compensation may be available to you?
What If the Insurance Company Refuses to Negotiate?
Insurance companies are profit-driven and many will not refrain from using underhanded tactics to get you to accept a lowball offer. One such tactic is to delay your claim in the hopes that you will become desperate to accept any offer presented to you.
When you have an experienced attorney by your side, they will help protect you from such tactics. If the insurance company does not cooperate, then they could bring a personal injury lawsuit against them in court.
How do I Settle a Personal Injury Claim Quickly?
You may be tempted to accept a settlement offer because you need the money to cover your increasing expenses. However, it is important to remember that insurance companies are under no obligation to offer you a fair settlement.
Every person’s circumstances are different, and you should weigh up the pros and cons of potentially accepting less than you deserve. Some cases can take many months to settle, especially if there is doubt as to who was at fault, more than one liable party, or the facts of your case require time to establish.
When you secure representation from Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, we will fight to secure quick compensation without compromising on your rights. We will establish what your case is worth and will work with you to determine where to fight for a quicker settlement and when to go the distance to secure what is rightfully yours.
Should I Accept the First Settlement if I Was Partially at At-Fault?
No. Just because you believe you may have been partially to blame for an accident does not mean that you should accept the first settlement offer. You may still be owed compensation and should speak with an attorney who can advise you on your next steps.
The fact that you have been offered a settlement means that you likely have a good claim for compensation. You may not have all the facts of your case just yet, and your involvement could be less than what you think.
Even if you were partially at fault, in Texas, you could still claim compensation; this is known as comparative fault. So long as you were less than 50% at fault for the accident, you can still claim compensation, but it will be reduced by the percentage to which you are found to be liable.
For example, if you were in an accident at work, and you were partly to blame but were not given proper safety equipment, then you may be determined to be 20% at fault for the accident. If your case is worth $100,000, then it will be reduced by 20%, and you will still receive $80,000.
The insurance company may try to unfairly push the blame onto you in order to reduce the amount they owe you. However, your personal injury lawyer will present evidence to demonstrate liability and will ensure that it is not placed upon you unfairly.
How Much Compensation Could I Receive in a Personal Injury Claim?
The amount you can claim in compensation for a personal injury claim will depend on factors such as the quality of your representation, how clear liability is, and the value of your damages.
Your damages are your economic and noneconomic losses as a result of your injury; they include:
Medical Expenses Past and Future
Medical bills are often the biggest concern for personal injury victims. A good settlement should compensate you for all your medical expenses, including surgery costs, hospital bills, medication costs, physical therapy, and more.
An attorney will also help to ensure that you are compensated for your future medical costs. If you require ongoing treatment, then it is important you are not left out of pocket months or years later for an injury that wasn’t your fault. If you do accept a quick settlement, then it is unlikely that your future medical expenses will have been considered.
Lost Wages Past and Future
Following a serious injury, you are likely to be unable to work, resulting in lost wages. A good settlement should compensate you for all your lost income. If your injuries are ongoing and are likely to continue to affect your ability to work, then you should also be compensated for your future lost wages.
Pain and Suffering Damages
Pain and suffering damages compensate you for your emotional suffering and the pain you have been through. Any accident that causes a personal injury is traumatic, and injuries can leave people with physical pain and a reduction in their quality of life.
A quick settlement is unlikely to include pain and suffering damages. They can be highly contentious, but an experienced personal injury lawyer will help you to evidence your claims and fight for a settlement that is representative of your suffering.
Pain and suffering damages can often equate to a large percentage of a victim’s settlement. One common method to calculate this is to use a multiplier between one and five against your economic damages.
For example, if your injuries are currently impacting your ability to work and live your life as you normally would, but you expect to make a full recovery, then a multiplier of two could be justified. However, if your injuries are permanent and life-limiting, then a multiplier of five could be used.
Punitive damages can only be awarded by a Judge and therefore are only awarded in cases that result in a lawsuit. A Judge may decide to award punitive damages in cases involving particularly reckless behavior or gross negligence. They are a way to deter similar behavior in the future or punish the defendant for their actions.
What Happens if You do not Accept a Settlement? FAQ
In your free consultation, your personal injury lawyer can assess your case and determine if they believe you have a valid claim for compensation. However, if you have already been offered a settlement, then it is likely that the insurance company believes you have a valid claim.
Every case is different, and how long your case takes to settle will depend on the complexity of your case, how willing the other party is to negotiate, the severity of your injuries, and the quality of your representation. A straightforward case could be over in a few months, while more complex cases could take more than a year.
Some people are tempted to accept a settlement offer because they do not believe that they can afford representation. However, at Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, we work on a contingency fee basis, which means that we take a percentage of your settlement if we are successful. If we do not win your compensation, then we will not be paid anything.
Contact Chris Morrow Law, PLLC Today – The Attorney That Works
At Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, we understand when to fight for a quick settlement and when to fight for a more compensation sum. We will work meticulously to gather evidence and determine the value of your damages to ensure that we are fighting for a settlement that reflects your past and future expenses and your pain and suffering.
We will keep you engaged throughout the process and will always provide you with options and the likelihood of various outcomes based on specific actions.
Contact us today and arrange a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer at 512-520-8100.