In theory, the primary purpose of car insurance is to cover the costs associated with a motor vehicle accident. If you are hurt and your car is damaged, you should be covered. If you hurt someone else or damage someone else’s vehicle in a car crash, your insurance should cover the victim’s costs. Up to policy limits, of course.
Unfortunately, that is not always how it works.
Insurance Companies Are Businesses
The reality is that insurance companies are businesses, and usually big ones at that. Like all successful businesses, they have to keep an eye on their bottom line. That means being as conservative as possible with the amount of money they hand out.
When this reality is combined with the fact that many car accident victims just do not know how much their case is truly worth, the scene is set for unfairness.
The insurance adjuster will contact the victim. Quite frequently it is soon after the car crash, possibly before the injuries have even healed and before the medical bills have been tallied. A settlement will be offered. It might look reasonable. The victim, not knowing what future medical bills and lost wages will add up to, may simply accept the offer, in part to get the whole ordeal over with and move on with their life.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to move on when a settlement runs out and there are still doctor bills to be paid and paychecks are not yet coming in because a person’s injuries prevent them from returning to work. The victim will find it impossible to go back to the insurance company and ask for more money.
So what is a car wreck victim to do? First, it is important, particularly for someone who has been hurt due to another driver’s negligence, not to rush into a settlement. No matter how much pressure the insurance adjuster applies, the victim has the right to think about the offer. The victim also has the right to get an opinion from a third party, such as an attorney, who can accurately calculate how high a settlement should be.