If you or a loved one suffered injury in a car accident that resulted from someone else's negligence, you may seek compensation for your losses. If the responsible party has insurance, his or her insurance provider will likely contact you in a matter of weeks to offer to settle your case. Know that this initial offer will likely not be enough to cover all of your losses. Insurance companies count on car crash victims taking these low-ball offers, though, because they need the money right away.
What some Louisiana residents fail to realize is that they do not have to accept an insurance settlement offer. They have the right to decline and request more. Some people are not willing to go through the negotiations process, but if you are, it could be to your benefit.
How settlements work
If, after your car crash, insurance offers you a sum that you feel is inadequate, it is okay to seek counsel on the matter before accepting or rejecting the offer. If it is determined that your injuries will end up costing you more than the proposed settlement amount, you can formally decline the offer -- this you need to do in writing. Along with your rejection letter, you can send a demand letter that states what you believe would be fair under the circumstances.
An insurance provider can take one of three paths after receiving a demand letter. It can:
- Accept the demands
- Flat out refuse the demands
- Issue a counter offer
If they refuse or counter, this is where legal counsel can step in and really start the negotiations process for you.
What if negotiations fail?
If negotiations fail, it does not mean that you will end up walking away with nothing or less than you deserve. You may take your case to trial if doing so appears to be the best course of action. Sometimes, threatening litigation is enough to get an insurance provider to rethink its offer, and sometimes it's not. If you end up going to trial, legal counsel will do everything possible to help you seek maximum relief for your losses.
The injuries suffered in a car crash can cause victims to endure a number of physical, financial and emotional losses. They deserve to get the help they need to recover and move on. Achieving a fair settlement amount can allow them to do just that.