From the moment you call for emergency medical assistance after a crash, your bills will start accumulating. You will pay for the ambulance ride to the hospital and the tow truck that takes your vehicle to the repair shop or junkyard. You will have to cover days if not weeks of lost income during your medical treatment, which can be a massive financial blow when combined with all of the expenses accumulating because of the crash.
Drivers in South Dakota have a requirement to carry insurance on their vehicles. Especially when you are not the one at fault for the wreck, you expect to make a straightforward claim and secure compensation for your losses. Sometimes, the insurance company will respond to a claim with a settlement offer.
How settlement offers work
In exchange for a release that absolves them of future liability, the insurance company will issue a lump-sum payment to you in the near future. You get a check quickly for a specific amount, and you won’t have to keep gathering and submitting bills to the claims adjuster.
Is accepting a settlement the best option for the person filing the claim?
Delays may do less harm than reductions in payment
People facing snowballing personal expenses and a total loss in income may feel frantic about their financial circumstances. When the insurance company offers them a five-figure check, they may want to take it as quickly as possible and start paying off their hospital bills.
The problem is that they may trade full financial compensation for expediency. The insurance company may offer less than the maximum coverage available and less than what someone’s total costs actually are. Settlements are a common way for companies to put profits before people while hiding their bad faith practices.
For most individuals, it is better to accept compensation later and diligently push for a fair and reasonable payout. Low settlement offers are a common form of bad faith insurance and are particularly hard for people to fight back against because they have signed a waiver absolving the insurance company of future liability.
How do you evaluate a settlement?
To ensure that you receive the appropriate amount of compensation after a car crash, you need to have a working understanding of what the collision will cost you. From looking at the impact on your income to talking to your doctors about your likely future medical expenses, you will need to gather a lot of information to honestly evaluate whether an offer is in your best interests or not.
Realizing that a settlement might be an attempt to minimize future responsibility for losses could help you better handle your crash-related insurance claim.