You will more than likely focus your concerns on your recovery in the days following a serious car accident. You may spend days in the hospital, followed by days at home, more medical appointments, physical therapy and more.
During all of this, and perhaps before you even leave the hospital, an insurance adjuster may come see you or contact you by phone. You received an offer to settle your claim for a certain amount of money. You may consider taking it right away because, now that you think about it, your financial situation just took a major hit. That may be true, but more likely than not, that offer is far lower than the amount you actually need and deserve.
Don't be in a hurry to accept that first offer
Even with everything you have going on right now, take your time reviewing the settlement offer. You may find that adding up just those first bills you received is more than what the insurance company wants to pay, and you haven't even received all of your medical bills. You may even need further medical and medical-related care in the future, and the settlement probably won't cover it.
Then there is the question of being able to pay your usual monthly bills. You may not receive an income while you recover, and if you are like most people, you don't have a savings account to cover your absence from work.
It's okay to say no
When you sit down and evaluate your financial needs against the offer, you will probably find it lacking. You may want to find out why the insurance company made the offer it did. It could result from any number of reasons, including the following:
- A belief that you contributed to the accident
- A lack of documentation regarding the accident and your injuries
- A belief the company would prevail in litigation
It could simply be a tactic -- a place to begin negotiations. Regardless, you have the right to refuse that first offer, but you should only do so when you are satisfied that it is too low. You should send any rejection in writing. At the same time, you could include a counteroffer and see where things go from there.
If you reach a point where you aren't getting anywhere with the insurance company, you could file a lawsuit, pursuing the compensation you deserve and need. Another step you could take is to seek out the advice and assistance of a West Virginia personal injury attorney to help with your claim going forward.