You are never required to accept a settlement offer of any kind. Some insurance adjusters try to create a false sense of urgency, making you feel like it’s a “now or never” chance to get paid. They might even make you feel like early settlement is your only option, but that isn’t the case. You may have a number of options at your disposal.
Generally speaking, when you accept a settlement offer, you are required to forever release the insurance company from any further claims relating to your accident.
In other words, once you accept the settlement offer, you can’t take it back. (There may be exceptions in a very few, limited circumstances.)
Even if you find out later that your injuries are worse than you realized, or that you were actually entitled to a lot more money, you’ll have lost your chance to negotiate for more money or to take legal action.
If you turn down the insurance company’s settlement offer, you won’t lose any of your rights under Georgia personal injury law. You’ll still have the option to negotiate, talk to a lawyer, file a lawsuit, etc. (subject to the Georgia statute of limitations — more on that below).
The insurance company will probably tell you that there is a time limit for accepting their offer, and if you don’t accept within that time, they aren’t obligated to offer you one penny after the time window expires. That’s true. They aren’t obligated to offer you more money on their own.
But keep this in mind: if the insurer offered money in the first place, it is likely because they believe you have a legitimate claim. They know that you could bring a lawsuit against them, and that the lawsuit could cost them even more money. Depending on the specifics of your claims, they might have a strong incentive to settle, even after their initial offer expires or is declined.
That said, every situation is different. The only way to find out the best course of action for your particular claim is to talk to an experienced Augusta personal injury lawyer. We urge you to carefully review your situation with an attorney before deciding to accept or decline any settlement offer.
Here again, it is critical that you talk to a lawyer as soon as possible. At M. Austin Jackson Attorney at Law, we make that easy to do. We offer no-risk, no-cost, no-obligation, no-pressure case reviews for personal injury victims.
If your insurance company has offered you a settlement and you suspect it might be for less than you deserve, give us a call and set up a consultation.
Every situation is different and must be assessed in context. That said, as a general matter, it is often the case that initial settlement offers often do not reflect the full value of what a victim is owed under the law.
At the outset, it’s helpful to see your settlement offer from the insurance company’s point of view. Their goal is to get rid of your claim as quickly as possible… and for as little money as possible.
Remember: insurance adjustors don’t work for you, they aren’t your legal representative, they don’t represent your interests, and they are ultimately looking out for the company’s financial well-being (not yours).
While insurance companies are required to handle your claim in good faith, they don’t owe you the same kind of legal duty that your attorney would. And, sadly, insurers frequently breach their basic duty of good faith (which may, in some cases, give rise to an additional claim in your case for bad faith insurance).
The best way to know if the offer is too low? Talk to an attorney. If you’re in the Augusta area, give us a call at M. Austin Jackson Attorney at Law. We often hear from people who ask us, “Should I accept my insurance company settlement?” It’s a conversation we’re happy to have — honestly, confidently, and at no cost or obligation. We’ll tell you whether we think we can help and what your options might look like.
A personal injury lawyer’s job is to offer you help and advice, to zealously advocate for your best interests, to take the burden of uncertainty off your shoulders, and to fight to maximize your financial compensation.
Unfortunately, insurance companies sometimes have a tendency to lowball claims (or even to outright deny them) until an aggressive attorney gets involved.
Fortunately, at M. Austin Jackson Attorney at Law, we have extensive experience in challenging insurance companies in the face of low settlement offers or unfairly denied claims — and we have a track record of success to show for it. We’re here to help.
You can talk to one of our experienced Augusta personal injury lawyers about your insurance settlement offer at no cost and no obligation during a complimentary consultation, in person or over the phone.
If you choose to hire us, you won’t have to pay us anything unless and until we get you money. Our fee will only be a portion of your total recovery.
Get started today: 706-724-2661.