A challenge in every personal injury case is to determine when to settle and when to refuse the insurance company’s offer. And unless you have decades of experience dealing with insurance companies and understanding the valuation process, it can be especially tricky.
Attorney Matt Boulton has spent the past 25 years investigating and handling personal injury claims for Hoosiers and the one lesson he learned long ago is that the insurance company can be unpredictable.
There are times when Matt has received what he believes to be a fair offer for his client’s case and other times when the negotiations would suggest that the insurance company will not budge.
The difference between those two scenarios is ultimately knowing when to settle vs. filing a lawsuit.
What is a Fair Settlement?
In many instances, accident victims are unaware of scenarios that may affect the amount of compensation received, and the insurance company will not always bring it to your attention. So before thinking of settling your claim with the insurance company, we need to look at how certain factors can affect the value of a case.
- How Did the Injury Affect You?
Injuries are unique to each individual, meaning they have the ability to affect each person differently. With this in mind, it is important to realize the insurance company may try to settle a claim based on a “one size fits all” approach.
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Matt takes a different approach when evaluating his clients’ injuries. Instead of believing that two cases involving whiplash should receive similar compensation, he will analyze the facts of each case and the individual client’s circumstances.
For example, a young person who sustains whiplash may recover more quickly than an elderly person, and while the insurance company may consider the injuries to be worthy of a similar settlement, we would disagree.
Before settling any of his clients’ claims, Matt will always ensure the insurance company knows the individual’s story and makes an offer based on their experience.
2. Will You Need to File a Future Claim?
Before signing any document the insurance company sends to you, know that your signature may prevent you from filing any future claims related to the incident and/or the other parties.
We have spoken to a number of Hoosiers who agreed to a settlement offer and signed a release for what they thought was fair compensation only to later change their minds.
In short, never sign anything until you are confident that you are receiving a fair settlement that includes all-inclusive compensation related to the incident.
3. Are You Being Rushed?
It is important to know that you are not required to sign anything until you are ready. If you reject the insurance company’s initial settlement offer, your claim will remain open, even if you feel they are wanting you to act quickly.
The only timeframe you need to worry about is your case’s statute of limitations. If you do not settle your case or file a lawsuit before your statute date, you will be barred from any claims related to the incident.
Also, if the insurance company refuses to make any additional offers on your claim, this does not mean you are without recourse. As long as you have not missed your statute date, an attorney can file a lawsuit on your behalf.
4. What do You Think?
Whether an attorney is handling your case, or you are attempting to settle it on your own, the question you will eventually have to answer is: Am I ok with the amount being offered to settle?
If the insurance company has made you an offer that you are perfectly happy with, you may choose to settle, and there is nothing wrong with that.
Likewise, if the insurance company suggests a settlement that you are unsure about, it is ok to refuse their offer until they present you with something that you believe to be fair.
Again, each person will face different circumstances and have varying ideas about what constitutes a fair settlement offer.
Questions About a Settlement?
Attorney Matt Boulton’s clients rarely see a courtroom. In fact, almost 95% of the cases he handles are won without the need for a lawsuit.
If you are unsure whether or not you have been offered a fair settlement by the insurance company, Matt can provide you with free, friendly legal advice.
Boulton Law Group offers Hoosiers a Zero Fee Guarantee, meaning there is never a charge for a case review, and you will never pay anything until the firm wins your case.
If you wish to send us the details of your case, you may use our confidential contact form.