After you file a personal injury claim with an insurance company, the company will research the findings from the incident and likely extend to you what is known as the first settlement offer. For many victims, this is an exciting time in the claims process, but remember that it is also an important one. 

It May Be the Best Option

Accident victims are often advised not to accept the first offer submitted by the insurance company. While it is always best to weigh your options, you should understand that in certain scenarios, the first offer may be the best offer. Particularly in lower-value claims, the insurance company may offer an amount that exceeds what you had expected and what you may need. Your attorney will help you determine if you should accept the offer.

Proper Calculations Are Critical

It is essential to comb through each line of the settlement offer. Insurance companies do not have a special computer system that prepares these offers; they are done by humans. As such, errors are a possibility. You need to verify that all the calculations for lost wages, medical care, future treatment, and any other expenses included are correct. This step is especially important if you are considering accepting the offer.

Terms Are Just as Important as Values

While you look over the settlement offer, you want to focus on and verify more than just the calculations. It is also important to review the terms. In addition to a monetary amount, the offer will also list the terms of the agreement. For example, the offer might state that should you discover any additional accident-related injuries, you cannot file a new claim. Have an attorney review the document to ensure you understand what you are signing and agreeing to.

The Right to Compensation Is Not Waived

While you can accept the offer, you have an equal right to deny the first offer. Should you decide on the latter scenario, ensure you understand that by not taking the offer, you are not giving up your right to compensation. Yes, the insurance company can decide not to submit a counteroffer, but in return, you then have the right to take the matter to court. Saying no is not the end of the road. 

It is so important to have an attorney review the settlement offer to help you determine what steps you should take next. Be sure to speak with a personal injury attorney for help with your claim.