The North Carolina Department of Transportation reported that in 2021, over 276,000 car accidents happened across the state. Car accidents can be life-altering events that bring about a whirlwind of emotions, physical pain and financial stress.
After such an ordeal, the last thing you want to think about is negotiating with insurance companies. Yet, the minutes, hours and days following an accident in North Carolina can shape the trajectory of your financial recovery. The question you might find yourself asking is, “Should I accept the insurance company’s first offer?”
Initial offers may not reflect true damages
Insurance companies are businesses, and like any other business, their primary goal is to minimize costs and maximize profits. This means they might offer a settlement that appears generous on the surface but might not fully cover all of your expenses or compensate you for the pain and suffering you have endured.
After an accident, you might not yet know the full extent of your injuries or the long-term effects they could have on your life. Sometimes, what seems like a minor injury can evolve into a more serious condition. Accepting an early offer may leave you with insufficient funds to cover future medical expenses or to compensate for time off work.
Negotiating can lead to a better settlement
While the initial offer may not be in your best interest, it does not mean you are powerless. You have the right to negotiate with the insurance company to arrive at a settlement that more accurately reflects your damages and losses. Research shows that individuals who negotiate their settlements often receive more than those who simply accept the first offer.
Making an informed decision
Before making any decisions, it is important to fully assess your situation. Document all damages, gather all relevant paperwork and calculate the full extent of your financial needs. This will give you a clearer picture of what you should be aiming for in negotiations.
While it may be tempting to accept the insurance company’s first offer after a car accident, you should think carefully about the long-term implications. By taking the time to understand your rights and assess your damages, you can make an informed decision that best serves your interests and needs.