How Long Should I Wait Before Accepting a Settlement Offer?
July 23, 2022
When you have a personal injury claim, the insurance company of the at-fault party (or potentially your insurance company) will make an offer to settle your injury claim. You may know not to necessarily accept the first settlement offer from the insurance company, as the first offer rarely represents the maximum value of your claim. But if you have a personal injury claim, you may be wondering how long you should wait before you ultimately decide to accept the insurance company’s settlement offer.
When Should You Settle Your Personal Injury Claim?
Ideally, you should wait until you have completed your medical treatment and have repaired property damage or gotten fixed estimates for repairs before you decide to settle your personal injury claim. The first offer from the insurance company often will not cover all your expenses and losses because the first offer often comes soon after an accident, when you do not know with certainty what injuries you have and what expenses or losses you will incur as a result.
If you do accept a settlement before you have fully assessed your expenses and losses, you may later find that you need additional treatment or compensation. But once you’ve settled your claim, you typically cannot demand more compensation from the insurance company. In addition, while it is perfectly fine to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company, you should never give the impression that a settlement is your ultimate goal. If the insurance company thinks that you are willing to go to court over your claim, they will be much more likely to make you a fair settlement offer to avoid the time and expense of litigation.
How Long Does It Take to Reach a Settlement?
Once you file a claim with the insurance company or the insurer otherwise receives notice that you may have a claim, the insurer may promptly send you a settlement offer in the hopes that it can quickly resolve your case. Alternatively, you might send a demand letter to the insurance company in which you make the first settlement offer. However, in most cases, the first offer starts the process of negotiation, in which both sides trade counteroffers in an attempt to reach a compensation figure acceptable to both parties. The length of time it may take to reach a settlement will depend on numerous factors, including the complexity of the investigation needed for your case and the relative strength of each side’s evidence and arguments.
Why the Statute of Limitations is Important
When negotiating a settlement with the insurance company, it is also important to be mindful of the statute of limitations on your injury claim. You typically have only two years from the date that you were injured to file a lawsuit in your personal injury claim. Once the statute of limitations has passed on your claim, the insurance company can no longer be held liable for your injuries in a lawsuit. This makes it important to remember to file a lawsuit before the limitations period expires on your case.
What to Do If You’ve Received a Seemingly Fair Settlement Offer?
A personal injury lawyer can assess settlement offers and advise you when a particular offer provides fair compensation in your claim. Although a settlement figure may not be exactly what you wanted, a fair offer will also take into account other factors such as your likelihood of winning (or losing) at trial, the cost of litigation, and the potential verdict that a jury could render in your favor. Once your attorney advises that you’ve gotten a fair offer, you should accept it to avoid the need for further litigation in your case.
Contact a Rochelle Park Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Case in New Jersey
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to an accident in New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at The Epstein Law Firm represent clients injured because of accidents in Jersey City, Union City, Bayonne, Hoboken, and throughout New Jersey. Call (201) 380-7687 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 340 West Passaic St., Rochelle Park, NJ 07762.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.