Things to Know Before Signing a Settlement AgreementArizona Legal News
Sometime after reporting a car accident, you’ll receive a settlement offer from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Though it might be tempting, you shouldn’t blindly agree to these settlement offers. There are a variety of considerations to keep in mind before signing off on anything with an insurance company.
The Risks of Settling Quickly
Settling quickly is oftentimes a bad idea, for one simple reason: insurance companies exist for profit, so the smaller your claim, the happier they are. Insurance adjusters know that most people don’t have a strong grasp of the legal process, and as such, they’ll use a variety of practices to devalue your settlement.
- Insurance adjusters will often offer a “quick and easy” sum to try and get you to settle before you can talk to a lawyer, which is usually a low-balled estimate that doesn’t cover any future costs you might incur.
- Bad faith claims, while illegal, are always a risk with dishonest insurance adjusters. A bad faith claim refers to the practice of denying or reducing a claim based on points that are not “reasonably debatable”—while easily caught by an attorney, these types of claims oftentimes go unnoticed by average motorists.
- If you agree to a settlement, you can’t seek further compensation in most cases. Many injuries take time to set in after an accident, but if you’ve already settled and try to file for more compensation, insurance companies will doubt whether your injury stemmed from the crash or something else.
When Is It Fine to Agree to a Settlement?
In general, if your accident was minor and didn’t cause any injuries or serious financial damages, you can accept a settlement offer without talking to a lawyer. In simple collisions, there’s so little room for doubt or negotiation that a dishonest adjuster can’t devalue your claim, and a talented lawyer can’t do anything to increase it. If you’re not sure whether an offer is reasonable, scheduling a free consultation with an attorney can be a great way to get peace of mind and discuss your case.
If your accident is more complex, an experienced lawyer can evaluate your case and inform you if a settlement offer is fair. Before even considering a lawsuit, a lawyer can make a series of counter-offers to insurance adjusters until a fair settlement is reached. If they can’t secure reasonable compensation out of court, they’ll recommend taking legal action against the insurance company instead.
Should You File an Arizona Accident Lawsuit?
Of the nearly two million Arizonan traffic cases filed annually, over 95 percent never go to trial, and for good reason. Nobody wants to deal with a lawsuit, insurance companies included, but at times, it’s the only course of action that can secure you a fair, comprehensive settlement. It’s ultimately your decision to accept or decline a settlement offer, so if you feel you’ve been cheated, talking to an Arizona auto accident attorney is the first step in filing a lawsuit for proper compensation. Escamilla Law Group can help ease your burden—whether you’re considering a settlement offer, lawsuit, or just want advice, you can contact us at (623) 321-0566 to discuss your options.