Can My Lawyer Negotiate a Car Accident Settlement if I Have Already Verbally Accepted an Offer?June 14, 2021
Car accidents are terrible. Even minor accidents leave victims dealing with vehicle repairs and insurance claims. More serious accidents may cause personal injury, leaving victims out of work and finding it difficult to pay their bills.
This may change when a car accident victim gets a phone call from an insurance adjuster. The adjuster makes a quick settlement offer, and the injured person may get excited and quickly accept the offer over the phone.
After hanging up the phone, the injured person takes a minute to think about the offer they just verbally accepted. Now they are extremely worried that they settled for too little. Although this scenario is anxiety inducing, thankfully the injured person has legal options.
Why Insurance Companies Make Quick Offers
Insurance companies are in the business of making money. When a person suffers injuries in a car accident caused by a client of an insurance company and the fault of the accident clearly lies with their client, the insurance company may try to end this matter as quickly as possible. They do this by having an insurance adjuster make a call to the car accident victim just days after the accident.
The insurance adjuster’s job is to provide a quick settlement offer and persuade the injured person to accept the offer, using almost all means necessary. By making the settlement offer seem like a one-time offer and the best offer the insurance company can possibly make, the insurance adjuster tries to persuade the injured person to accept the offer on the spot. The insurance representative may even tell the injured person that they do not need a lawyer to help them because all a lawyer will do is cut into the settlement, leaving less money for the victim.
If a car accident victim accepts the insurance company’s settlement offer, that usually benefits only one party: the insurance company. Their goal is to settle car accident cases quickly and for far less than they are worth.
Ultimately, this can leave injured people with more pain, both physical and financial. Just days after an accident, the insurance company cannot possibly know with certainty how much an injured person needs to cover all of their expenses. That is because they do not care. They simply want to make this case go away for as little money as possible.
Every car accident injury victim is well within their rights to refuse a settlement offer. It can be nerve wracking to do so, but without the guidance of a skilled legal advisor, people risk settling for much less than what their case is worth, leaving them to shoulder the financial burden of their recovery.
Estimating the True Cost of a Car Accident
The biggest reason people accept a quick settlement offer from the insurance company is because they simply underestimate the amount of money it will take to recover from their injuries. For example, Northwestern University recently conducted a study showing that the lifetime costs of a traumatic brain injury can reach into the millions of dollars.
The most well-known traumatic brain injury, a concussion, is a common car accident injury. If a car accident victim who suffers from a concussion agrees to settle their case for just a few thousand dollars, that could leave them having to pay out of pocket for the rest of their medical expenses, an amount that could bankrupt many people.
To correctly estimate the full cost to recover from a car accident, victims need to work with lawyers who have the resources necessary to help calculate this complex cost. Legal teams adept at car accident injury lawsuits may have medical experts at their disposal. These medical experts can help determine the victim’s medical prognosis, calculating what it will cost to cover the following:
- Multiple hospital visits
- Multiple medical procedures
- Prescription medication
- Future medical needs related to the accident
- Extended time off work
The last point is one car accident victims often do not even consider. Many victims think they can recover compensation only for their medical bills. Unfortunately, that could leave them in financial hardship by missing out on additional recovery opportunities.
Car accident victims may be able to recover additional compensation for lost income and lost earning potential if their injuries prevent them from returning to work temporarily or permanently. Many car accident injuries, even minor injuries, can leave a person out of work for a short period of time. For many people, missing just a single paycheck can put them in financial hardship.
That is why car accident victims need to partner with a lawyer who has proven experience helping people recover maximum compensation for their injuries. Leaving money on the table by accepting a modest settlement offer only adds more pain to the victim’s life.
Negotiating a New Settlement
An old adage is a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. This is the mindset of many car accident victims, and that leads them to take a quick settlement offer. The fear of declining an offer that is on the table and getting a lesser amount later is real. And that is exactly what the insurance company wants.
However, if a person has not yet signed any paperwork and has only verbally agreed to a settlement offer with the insurance adjuster, that may not be enough for the insurance company to bind the person to the agreement. Therefore, the victim may have options. But now time is of the essence.
Once the insurance company gets a verbal acceptance from the injured person, they put even more pressure on them to sign the offer. They at least want the person to sign a written confirmation that they have agreed to the settlement offer.
Before a person signs anything, they may still be able to back out. The only way to know for sure is to speak with a trusted legal advisor.
When an injured person has a legal advocate on their side, they may be able to collect additional compensation to help them recover from their injuries. Their lawyer may apply counter-pressure to the insurance company, pushing the settlement amount higher to cover all of the expenses the injured person faces while simultaneously reducing their anxiety.
But once an injured person signs a settlement offer, all bets are off. There may be no way to reverse that decision. What the insurance company will not tell the injured person either is that once the settlement offer is signed, they will waive their right to bring any future claims against the insurance company for the car accident in which they suffered injuries. This means the victim could end up paying a substantial amount of money out of their own pocket to cover medical expenses and financial losses caused by an accident that was someone else’s fault.
People who suffer injuries in a car accident must understand that they have legal rights. One of those rights is to have a lawyer review any settlement offer they receive. Doing that just may end up saving the person a lifetime of heartache and financial stress.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Help Victims Recover
Getting into a car accident presents many challenges. You may need to deal with property damage to your vehicle, but you may also have to deal with serious injuries. The more severe your injuries, the more likely it is that you will require ongoing and expensive medical care. The Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton have the resources and experience required to help you negotiate a fair settlement so you do not get taken advantage of by the insurance company. If you have verbally accepted a settlement offer, you may still have legal options available, but you need to speak with us right away. Call us at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online for a free consultation. Our offices are conveniently located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, where we represent victims throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Parkville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.