If you have been involved in an Orange County car crash, you can file a claim for damages. An at-fault driver is legally obligated to pay up damages for your car crash-related losses such as injuries, lost wages, and vehicle damage. That being said, car crash claims don’t always proceed smoothly. This is why you may need the help of an Orange County car accident attorney.
Typically, this is how a car crash claim works: you file a claim with the insurance company of the at-fault driver. You also put forward a certain amount of damages in a demand letter sent to the company. An insurance adjuster is assigned your claim who evaluates the claim and then reaches out to you. The adjuster may ask for more details, dispute your claim, or make a counter-offer.
In many cases, the adjuster may tempt you with a quick settlement offer. A quick offer may come with many obvious benefits – you get the money for your losses without any delays and are able to pay for some of the crash-related losses. It also saves you the hassle of waiting for a better offer.
Despite these apparent benefits, a quick car crash settlement is almost never fair. Here are some good reasons you should turn down a quick offer for settlement.
The First Offer Is Always Low
In general, the first offer from the insurance company is always quite low. This is the starting point for negotiation. As the claim proceeds, you and the insurance adjuster strive to reach a dollar figure which is midway between this first offer and the amount you demanded. So it is never a good idea to accept this initial offer.
You may be tempted by the fact that the sooner you agree on the amount, the sooner you can get the money. However, if you can recover an amount that is double or several times the initial offer, the wait is worth it.
Your Injuries May Take Time to Show Up
Some injuries are obvious and apparent right away. Others, such as internal injuries and internal bleeding, may take some time to show up. If you accept a quick and low offer from the insurer, only to discover that your injuries were severer than you had expected, you can’t retract from the offer. So it is best to wait until the full extent of your injuries becomes known.
This can take a few days to a few weeks, depending on the nature of the crash. Once you know what your injuries are and how long they will take to heal, you will have a more accurate dollar amount for your claim.
You Need Time to Estimate Other Losses
As with the injuries, you will also need time to estimate the full extent of your other losses. For instance, you can’t know right away how long you will be forced to take time away from work. Until you know this, it is not possible to compute your lost wages. Similarly, you may need the expert opinion of more than one mechanic to peg a definite value on the costs of vehicle repair or replacement. Only once you have these estimates of your crash-related losses can you make a demand that is fair and in line with the damage you have suffered.
There’s No Going Back
Once you accept the initial offer made by the insurance adjuster, you can’t change that. The adjuster will have you sign the documents confirming the settlement. If you later realize that your medical bills or lost wages are way more than you had estimated, you can’t go back and seek a new settlement offer from the insurer. You effectively sign away your right to this when you accept the first offer.
For these reasons, it is generally not a good idea to accept the initial offer made by an insurance company. Even if you are inclined to consider it a fair offer, it is best to consult a qualified lawyer before you seal the deal.
Why Hire an Orange County Car Crash Attorney?
If you have suffered injuries or other losses in an Orange County crash, we can help you. Here at the Crockett Law Group, our attorneys can help you file the claim in time, seek a suitable amount of damages, and counter any unfair objections raised by the insurer. We also advise you on whether or not to accept a settlement offer. Get in touch with us today to discuss your car crash claim with our lawyers.