Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Aug 13, 2020

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If you have filed a claim for payment of medical expenses treating an injury sustained in a car accident, then you will likely receive a settlement offer from the insurance company responsible for paying your medical bills. If you have not already consulted with a car accident injury attorney, you should consider doing so after you have received the insurance company’s offer.

TIP: You do not have to accept an offer from the insurance company. While the company must deal with you in good faith, keep in mind that their number one concern is always going to be money; specifically, their money. This does not mean they are trying to cheat you, but does mean it is a good idea to consult with a car accident attorney so they can advise you on what you should do.

Negotiating the Offer

Hiring a car accident attorney does not mean that you intend to file a lawsuit. In fact, a car accident attorney can be important if you intend to negotiate your settlement offer further. Negotiating your car insurance settlement may is easier if you have an experienced professional working with you. A car accident attorney will know what your insurance claim is worth, and have confidence to challenge the insurance company on offers that are too low.

Further, a car accident attorney will be prepared to cancel a negotiation and seek alternative means of resolving a dispute such as arbitration or litigation if the insurance company is not able to make a reasonable settlement. Negotiating a car insurance settlement offer is an important process! A car accident attorney will help you confidently work with your insurance company to get a fair settlement for your injuries.

Filing a Lawsuit

A settlement offer from your insurance company does not mean that you cannot file a lawsuit. A car accident attorney will be able to file a lawsuit for additional money if your insurance company is unwilling to offer you a reasonable amount to settle your claim. A successful lawsuit, and not all of them are, can result in your insurance company increasing its offer, or a judge or jury awarding a larger settlement amount at trial. A car accident attorney will be able to assess your settlement offer and you situation and determine if a lawsuit is the best way to get you a fair recovery.

Keeping Your Settlement Offer

The old saying a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush serves as a cautionary warning to those who sacrifice a guarantee for the promise of more. Hiring a car accident attorney after receiving a settlement offer can certainly raise a concern that you will get less money than you would’ve if you had just accepted the settlement offer. As you can guess, car accident attorneys do not work for free, so if they are unable to increase your offer enough to cover their fees then you risk losing money.

This cause for concern, however, is minimized by a common practice for car accident attorneys to not charge a fee on the initial amount of your settlement offer. Rather, your car accident attorney will only charge a fee as a percentage of the additional amount they are able to obtain after negotiating with your insurance company. If you think you’d like to hire a car accident attorney, be sure to ask them how they intend to charge their fee. If you are guaranteed to keep your initial settlement offer, then you may have nothing to lose by hiring an attorney to negotiate further.

TIP: There are other costs associated with hiring a car accident attorney to negotiate your car insurance claim, namely your relationship with your insurance company. However, if you feel like your car insurance company is not treating you fairly during the post car accident claim settlement process, then you can take the opportunity to cancel your policy and shop for a better car insurance policy. Click here to visit the Free Advice quote center, and start shopping for a policy that meets your needs.

If you would like to consult with an auto accident attorney prior to accepting a settlement offer on your car insurance claim, click here to find one on FreeAdvice.com

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