The First Offer After a Kansas City Car Accident
The answer to this question is almost always "No, you shouldn't accept the first offer." The reason is there's almost always some room to negotiate. An insurance company’s first offer to settle a car accident claim is typically much lower than the actual value of the claim.
However, an insurance company may refuse to negotiate or re-evaluate its initial offer unless and until you have a car accident attorney on your side. Accepting the settlement for your car accident claim without at least consulting with a Kansas City car accident attorney could result in the loss of thousands of dollars.
Insurance companies are not your friends. They are in business to make money, and they make money by paying the lowest amount possible for claims. They simply aren't going to pay you top dollar for your claim unless you provide them with every piece of persuasive evidence for your injury claim and show them that you are willing and able to go to court if necessary. A car accident lawyer can help you do that.
You don't need to hire a car accident lawyer for every accident claim. Depending on the circumstances, a free consultation may be all you need. This is especially true if that lawyer will provide you with lots of helpful, free information that you can use to settle the claim on your own.
But before you accept a settlement offer from an insurance company, contact our office for a free, no obligation consultation at 816-203-0143. Contacting us does not cost you anything, but we can help you evaluate any offer and make sure you're not being cheated or treated unfairly by an insurance company.
You Don't Always Need to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer
This does not mean you need to hire a car accident lawyer for every car accident case. Some car accident injury cases can be handled without hiring a lawyer. Many car accident lawyers won't admit this, but it's the truth. We try to be different.
Our law firm's goal is to help people make the best decisions for their claims, regardless of whether they hire our firm. That's why our free consultation is a bit different too. We aim to empower those that contact us with free books and reports, and sometimes, they can handle their claim on their own. We are always happy to help point them in the best direction.
For example, say you were involved in a fender bender car crash that resulted in minor injuries (small scraps or bruises) with very minimal medical bills. Perhaps you went to one or two office visits with your primary care physician. Once you have fully healed, you may be able to negotiate this settlement on your own. You may want to consider an insurance company’s first offer and try to negotiate from there.
However, in a case with more substantial injuries (including "soft tissue" injuries like whiplash or what your doctor calls "mild" concussion), you will likely require an emergency room visit and additional medical care. The bills for these visits can add up very quickly. A single E.R. visit without radiology or scans can easily exceed $4,000. At this point, you should seriously start to consider hiring a car accident attorney to help negotiate a fair settlement of your claim.
When Should You Hire a Kansas City Injury Lawyer?
Again, you are not legally required to hire a lawyer to settle a car accident claim. However, it can be in your best interest to speak with a personal injury attorney about your claim.
If your accident claim involves in the following circumstances, we strongly encourage you to speak with an injury attorney before accepting a settlement offer:
- Your injuries are severe or traumatic, including paralysis, brain injuries, broken bones, amputation/loss of limb, spinal cord or back injuries, and damage to internal organs;
- You have not completed treatment for your injuries;
- The accident resulted in a permanent disability, impairment, scarring, or disfigurement;
- A commercial vehicle or a government vehicle was involved in the accident;
- Multiple vehicles were involved in the collision;
- A semi-truck, 18-wheeler, or other large truck was involved in the accident;
- The insurance company is claiming that you shared in the responsibility for the cause of the car accident;
- You have substantial financial damages, including medical bills and loss of income;
- Your child was injured in the accident;
- The insurance company says they are offering the policy limits to settle the claim; or,
- The driver was intoxicated at the time of the accident.
There could be other circumstances in which having legal counsel could be a significant benefit. If you are unsure what to do, err on the side of caution and call our office at 816-203-0143 for a free no obligation consultation.
What Happens When You Settle a Kansas City Car Accident
When you settle a car accident claim with an insurance provider, you are required to sign a release of liability. The document you sign releases the insurance company and the at-fault party from any further liability for your injuries and damages. In many cases, the release applies to all parties, known and unknown, that could have liability for the claim.
By signing a release, you are giving up your legal right to hold any of these parties liable for any further damages, including future damages. You cannot file a personal injury lawsuit or demand more money, even if you discover new injuries or require additional treatment that you were not aware of before you agreed to the settlement offer.
Contact Our Kansas City Car Accident Attorney
The Law Office of Kevin J. McManus represents accident victims in Kansas City and throughout the states of Missouri and Kansas. For more information, download a free copy of my book Crash Course: An Insider's Guide to Accidents in Missouri & Kansas. This guide is packed with tips and the steps you should take after an accident, including the 9 mistakes to avoid that can wreck your injury claim.
If you would like to speak to a Kansas City car accident and personal injury lawyer, call 816-203-0143 to schedule a free consultation. There is no obligation to hire our law firm. We would be happy to hear any concerns and try to assist you.