Rejecting a settlement offer can be a part of your strategy for ensuring you receive fair compensation for your injuries, including long-term effects from your injuries.
If you reject a settlement offer, you can continue to negotiate with the insurance company, or the case might move to trial. It depends on where you’re at in the process and whether the insurance company is willing to try to work things out without involving the legal system.
You should never decide on a settlement offer in haste. You want to carefully evaluate it and determine whether it will cover your expenses and properly compensate you for your injuries.
Working with a personal injury attorney is the best way to know whether a settlement offer is fair or not. We’ll explain what you need to know about the settlement process and what happens if you reject an offer.
What Is a Settlement?
Both parties are best served keeping a lawsuit out of the legal system. While the courts serve an important role, going through the court system can elongate the time it takes to resolve a claim and cost both sides more money in legal fees and other expenses.
A settlement helps to keep a claim out of the court system by allowing both parties to negotiate a fair and agreeable resolution to the claim. Settlements require negotiation between parties to find a favorable result for a claim.
Why You Likely Shouldn’t Accept the First Settlement Offer
Insurance companies are tasked with reaching a settlement with a claimant for as little as possible. That means that they’ll start with the lowest possible settlement offer. Therefore, the first offer will be a low-ball offer to try and close out your claim quickly and inexpensively.
And if you don’t have your attorney review the settlement offer, you might be lulled into believing that a low number will cover your necessary bills. But these offers often exclude pain and suffering compensation, ongoing medical treatment, and missed work.
Once you sign to accept a settlement, you cannot change your mind and you cannot go back and pursue additional compensation for expenses you discover later.
Counteroffers are part of the settlement process, so be prepared for a lengthy negotiation. Calculating what a fair settlement would be is somewhat complicated. That’s because you might not know the extent of the expenses you’ll incur throughout your lifetime due to ongoing ailments, or the impacts on your ability to work and bring in the same wages as you did previously.
What Happens if the Insurance Company Won’t Negotiate Further?
Sometimes an insurance company will only provide one offer and once you reject it, they are no longer willing to negotiate. If that happens, it’s time to file a lawsuit formally within the Virginia court system.
Once you’ve done so, the insurance company might be willing to return to negotiations again. Or, depending on the evidence you present, the insurance company might be willing to resume negotiations during the lawsuit proceedings once they know there is substantial evidence against them.
Going to trial can be a good decision when the insurance company offers settlements that do not provide adequate compensation. You should not have to incur expenses for your injuries when you sustained them through no fault of your own.
If you’re entering settlement negotiations with an insurance company, contact Geoff McDonald & Associates before responding to the settlement offer. We’ll guide you in reviewing your expenses and coming to a fair settlement amount to protect your long-term financial wellbeing.