You were in a motorcycle accident in which you sustained serious injuries. Within a few days, you receive a call from an adjuster with the other motorist’s insurance company offering you a settlement offer. You may feel relieved that this is getting resolved so quickly and easily, but should you accept that initial offer? Most often, the answer is no. Here are some important reasons why not.
- You may not know the full extent of your injuries.
If it is only a few days after the accident, you may not have received a final diagnosis from your doctor. Test results and imaging studies may be still pending. For that matter, you may not even have been able to make it in to see the doctor at the point that the insurance adjuster calls you. It is best to wait until you have a conclusive diagnosis before talking to any insurance adjuster to ensure that the settlement covers all of your medical expenses.
- The first settlement offer may be too low.
Most ordinary people do not know how much damages for a motorcycle accident should be. Even professionals may need to take some time to consider all the factors and figure it out. The insurance adjuster knows that you probably have no idea what your case is worth and uses your ignorance against you. The first settlement offer may seem generous when you do not know what your case is really worth, and you may be tempted to accept it just to have the matter resolved.
However, when you accept a settlement offer, you must sign a release agreeing not to bring any legal action against the person responsible for the accident or the insurance company. In other words, if you find out later that the settlement is too low, you can no longer sue for fair compensation. However, up until the point that you agree to a settlement, this remains an option.
- There will be more offers.
As a scare tactic, the adjuster may imply that if you do not accept the first offer, they will not make any other offers. In the first place, this is rarely, if ever, true. Secondly, since you haven’t signed a release yet, you retain your right to bring legal action against the other party and insurer if they do not make you a fair settlement offer.
As a matter of fact, you are not required to talk to the adjuster at all. Contact a motorcycle accident lawyer, like a motorcycle accident lawyer in Rochester, MN, to consult with a skilled attorney who can handle all communication with the insurance company for you.
Thanks to Johnston Martineau, PLLP for their insight into some of the reasons someone should not accept the first settlement offer they get from an insurance adjuster.