insurance settlement

Why You Shouldn’t Accept an Insurer’s Settlement Offer Without a Lawyer

If you or a family member have been injured in an auto accident and you file an insurance claim, you may receive a phone call or letter from the other driver’s insurance company, asking you for details about the incident and perhaps offering you a money settlement. While it won’t hurt you to listen, you should not volunteer any information about the accident and you should most definitely not accept a settlement offer without consulting with an experienced Tennessee auto accident attorney.

There are several reasons you should not engage personally in settlement talks with the other driver’s carrier:

  • Your accident may have to be investigated — How the accident occurred is relevant to the type and extent of injuries suffered. Was the other driver speeding or otherwise operating his car in an unsafe manner? Is there an ongoing police investigation? Were alcohol or drugs involved? Were there other factors, such as road conditions or road construction, that may have caused the accident? The other insurer doesn’t have to pay at all if they can show their insured was less than 50 percent responsible for the accident.
  • Your injuries may be contested — It is essential that you be thoroughly examined for all bodily injuries resulting from the accident. However, certain types of damages, such as pain and suffering, are not physically apparent and require testimony to prove. Even a simple question from the other side’s insurer like “how are you feeling” may be a tactic to determine how badly you were hurt.
  • The insurer will try to low-ball the offer — Insurance companies help their bottom lines by paying out as little as possible on claims. Whatever initial offer of settlement is made, it usually will be lower than you could obtain in negotiations or at trial with the aid of a qualified Tennessee auto accident attorney.

The most important thing to remember is that the other driver’s insurance company is not on your side, no matter how helpful or sympathetic they seem to be. Any information you provide is potentially harmful to your case. In addition, you cannot be sure of the amount of recovery that is possible unless your claim is properly investigated and documented.

At Massengill, Caldwell & Coughlin, P.C., our attorneys have over 75 years of combined experience handling personal injury claims and dealing with insurance companies for clients in Bristol, Kingsport, Johnson City and throughout Upper East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. We understand how important it is to treat each client and family with respect and the individualized attention they deserve. Call us today at 423-797-6022 or contact us online to plan an initial consultation.