Are Negotiations Over When You Verbally Agree to a Settlement?
Posted on behalf of TSR Injury Law
on May 31, 2021 in Auto Accidents
One of the dangers of talking to the insurance company after a car crash is you may be tempted to agree to a quick settlement offer. Insurance companies often make settlement offers early in the process. They know crash victims are often desperate for compensation and do not know the true value of their claim. Insurance companies sometimes will make a property damage offer and then add a few hundred for the rest. People do not understand that property claims are separate from injury claims and cannot legally be bound together as a mandatory take it or leave it offer.
It is important to note that a verbal agreement may not be legally binding. In other words, if you accepted a settlement offer over the phone but have yet to sign anything, you may still be able to negotiate.
You should strongly consider discussing the situation with an experienced attorney before signing anything. The settlement offer may not provide all the compensation you need, and a lawyer may be able to negotiate for more.
Call the Bloomington-based auto accident lawyers at TSR Injury Law for a free legal consultation. There are no upfront fees or obligations for our services.
Can a Verbal Settlement Agreement be Enforced?
This is a complex question and multiple factors need to be considered to answer it. For example, did you agree to the insurance company recording your phone conversation? If so, and you said you agreed to a settlement offer, it will be more difficult to undue the contract. Was the agreement for property damage and got expanded to all matter? The greater the overreach, the easier it is to cancel the agreement.
It is very important that you do not sign anything until discussing it with a lawyer. While the insurance company is focused on paying out the smallest settlement, an experienced attorney should be focused on obtaining maximum compensation.
You may be concerned about making the insurance company wait. However, insurance companies often try to convince crash victims they need to accept the first offer because there will not be another one. This is often not the case, particularly when you have an attorney advocating for you. Insurance companies often argue why hire an attorney? They will simply take half of your settlement. This is not true. Some services like property damage and medical bills paid by no fault are done without a charge. In addition, well known statistics show people with attorney often get three times the settlement as those without representation. So even after paying a fee, people with attorneys come out ahead and have the comfort of knowing the settlement was done legally correct.
You have the right to discuss a settlement offer with an attorney before agreeing to it. If you already gave verbal acceptance, you may need to formally rescind your acceptance offer. This is something an attorney should be able to assist you with.
What Should I Say if a Settlement Offer is Made?
You do not have to say yes or no right away. You can say you need time to consider the offer or that you would like to talk to your lawyer about it.
What Happens if You Sign a Settlement Offer?
Once you sign a settlement offer, it is very unlikely you will be able to back out of it. Settlement offers usually contain clauses releasing insurance companies from any future liability for the accident in question.
Unless you can prove the insurance company committed fraud, coerced you into settling or you can prove a lack of mental capability to understand the contract, it is unlikely you would be able to seek more compensation. That is why it is so important to be sure about a settlement offer before signing it.
Compensation cannot change what happened, but it can allow victims to move forward with their lives without significant medical debt. Settlements can also help victims secure their financial future while they recover and are unable to work as much as before.
Why Initial Settlement Offers are Usually Inadequate
Initial settlement offers are often inadequate because it is not in the insurance companys best interests to offer full compensation. Their profit margin is enhanced every time they can quick settle for $1,000.00 when a case is truly worth $10,000.00 or settle for $100,000.00 (which may sound like a lot of money) when the case is actually worth $150,000.00 (which sounds better).
It is also difficult to assess the value of a claim so early in the process. Victims need to finish their treatment, and doctors need to see if your injury will have any long-term effects. It is only at that point that doctors can determine if you need ongoing treatment or if your injuries will impact your ability to work or live the rest of your life pain free.
If doctors and your attorney need time to determine the value of your case, there is no way the insurance company can know what it may be worth.
Need Help After a Car Crash? Set Up a Free Consultation Today
Car crash claims are often worth more than the insurance company says they are. Their goal is to pay out the least possible amount to protect their bottom line.
That is why it is important to meet with a licensed attorney to discuss your claim. TSR Injury Law has obtained $300 million in compensation on behalf of our clients. Your initial consultation is free, and there are no upfront fees while we work on your case.
Call Today for Legal Assistance. Phone: (612) TSR-TIME.