Lately I have been handling a lot of phone calls from prospective clients who just want to know: what should I do with an adjuster’s first offer. Many times the people have been injured and are offended by the amount and the timing of the offer. Sometimes, the insurance adjuster just sends a check to their house hoping that they just take the check and foreclose their claim for the payment of future medical care and claim for the payment of the annoyance and pain of being injured.
One of the first questions I ask is whether or not they are done treating. If the answer is NO, it is generally a good rule of thumb that negotiation is premature until the person is done treating. Settling a claim before you are finished treating can affect your rights to future medical coverage under your auto policy and/or health insurance and it can also result in you accepting an amount which is much less than the insurance company otherwise would be willing to pay. Over the last nine years of working on these types of cases I have seen numerous examples of people who started treating for what they considered a relatively minor injury only to learn over time that they had suffered a significant and permanent disability. If they had settled early in the process they would have harmed their families financial situation in a significant way.
The bottom line: very few people get rich off their insurance claims, its about getting what’s fair. If people rely on you and your income it is important that you handle your injury claim in a responsible manner and make sure that you do not resolve it until you know the extent of your injuries. Then, you should do all that you can to get a fair settlement.
If you want an opinion regarding your claim, please feel free to call me at 541.225.5061.