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Should you accept the insurance company's settlement offer?

In a matter of seconds, your life changed. During those seconds, you experienced the sights, sounds and smells that come with a car accident, you felt either like you were moving in slow motion or didn't even have time to process what happened. In either case, it became clear in the minutes that followed that you suffered serious injuries.

For the foreseeable future, you face doctors' appointments, physical therapy and time away from work. At least temporarily, you may not be able to participate in activities you love, take care of your daily needs or perform your job duties. As the days go by, your trepidation about your financial situation may continue to grow. The other driver's insurance company appears to swoop in to save the day by offering you a settlement, but you may want to think twice before accepting it.

Does the offer serve your best interests?

You may be tempted to accept the offer because you are concerned that if you don't take it, you may lose your chance. Fortunately, that isn't the case. You may want to view it as an opening offer. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses. In order to protect their bottom line, they often find reasons to deny claims or offer settlements well below what claims are worth.

Before making a decision regarding accepting the settlement, you may want to find out why the adjuster made that particular offer. Perhaps it's simply a matter of not receiving all of the information necessary to make an informed decision. You could submit additional information to clear up the matter.

Document your communications with the insurance company

Any response you make to the insurance company should probably be in writing. This creates a document trail in case you need to take your claim to court. After analyzing your claim, you may gain a clearer picture of what you need in order to be made whole again financially. You can make a counteroffer in writing with information to back up your claim.

If you still feel as though the insurance company isn't making you a fair offer, you may decide that you need help. When you negotiate with an insurance company, they have lawyers behind them helping them, and it may be beneficial for you to consider doing the same. It could increase your chances of receiving all of the compensation you deserve as a result of someone else's negligent actions.

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