Offers From Insurance Companies

Offers From Insurance Companies

Negotiating a settlement with an insurance company is tricky business. What is my personal injury case worth? Can I get more? What should they be paying for? Am I allowed to ask for more? What happens if they say no?

Each and every injury is unique. Each with its own special set of circumstances that set it apart from all others. Each person involved in an accident is different, travelling from different places, heading to different destinations, each saddled with their own unique baggage and personalities.

Of course, we don’t recommend you try and settle your case on your own. We’ve seen a lot of insurance companies try and settle cases far under their fair value until we get involved. The insurance companies are evaluating this, “How much will we have to pay if this person takes us to court?” If you have a lawyer as opposed to being unrepresented, that evaluation changes dramatically. You’ll have to pay the lawyer a percentage of your settlement, but it will almost always be worth it. What other factors are used to evaluate an injury? Two factors dominate the negotiations of an injury claim. Liability and damages.

Liability

Who is at fault for the accident? Who is liable? You’re driving through a green light and another car runs their red light, crashing into you. You report the accident to their insurance company. Then you get a call from their insurance company, “We’ve investigated the accident and talked to our driver. We’ve determined that it was your fault for causing the accident and we aren’t going to pay you anything.” They have determined, wrongly, that you are liable for the accident.

Perhaps they decide that it was 50% your fault and 50% their driver’s fault. This can reduce the amount of money you receive proportionate to the amount of fault you have. To over simplify: A $100,000 injury becomes a $50,000 injury if you are half at fault. In Illinois, if you are 51% at fault, your injury is worth $0, as you are more at fault than the other driver. That’s called comparative negligence.

Any number of facts can help change the percentages in your favor. Was the other driver in a hurry? Were they on their phone? Have they driven in that area before? Did they hit you or did you hit them? Most importantly, what can you prove? If the other driver admits it was their fault to their insurance company, you may not have any issues with the liability question.

Damages

How hurt were you? What are your losses? What has been taken away from you because of your injury? Medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of a normal life. These are just a few of the main buzz words we use to discuss damages. Did you have difficulty walking for a week? A year? Did your bills get paid by an insurance company or do they remain unpaid?

If an insurance company gives you an offer to settle your case, they have looked at two things: liability and damages. How liable is their insured for the accident? And how much damage did they cause to you? You can reject their offer and ask for more. Technically, after an offer is rejected and you make a counter demand, they can rescind their previous offer altogether. This is rarely done, however, as it is in their best interest to settle a claim. If it isn’t settled and you decide to file a lawsuit, the insurance company will have to pay a lawyer to defend the case. That costs money. Money they could be using to settle your case amicably before the Courts get involved.

Lawyer up. Make it right. Contact Chig Legal. Our Naperville personal injury lawyers are here for you.

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