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Do your homework before accepting that insurance company settlement

pShatteredWindshield_Depositphotos_10952398_m-300x200.jpgThere were more than 117,000 motor vehicle crashes in Tennessee in 2014, according to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security. More than 30,000 of these resulted in injuries and fatalities. All of them involved some kind of property damage. The American Automobile Association estimates that traffic crashes lead to a societal cost of nearly $300 billion each year. On an individual level, the costs can be devastating.

An insurance company may offer a settlement that meets the needs of the victim, but at times, negotiation is necessary. Whether an individual is involved in a fender bender or a life-changing collision, knowing how to conduct the business following the accident can make a significant financial difference. Car accident attorneys in Tennessee are typically familiar with the information individuals should know before accepting the offer.

Calculating future expenses

A settlement offered before all charges are known may leave some expenses unpaid. For example, before vehicle repairs are done, all of the damages may not be known, and accepting an offer too soon may exclude later charges. The company's initial offer may be too low to cover the final repair bill provided by a mechanic. Car accident attorneys in Tennessee are aware of the difficulties involved in attempting to evaluate all possible outcomes, and may advise clients to avoid accepting an offer too early in the process.

In the case of an injury or fatality, it can be even harder to estimate the damages and loss experienced. The American Automobile Association study estimated that an injury crash averages $126,000, while the cost of a fatality accident may reach $6 million. Costs often include initial and ongoing medical bills and lost wages. In some cases it is also necessary to determine the impact of loss of quality of life, loss of a wage earner and pain and suffering. At the time of the settlement offer, not all of these factors may be known.

Negotiating a higher offer

When a settlement is not enough, a person does not have to accept it. Negotiation can be a time-consuming and stressful process, though, and the initial offer is often very low. It is important to keep in mind that it is not usually beneficial to the company to go to court. If an individual is prepared to file a lawsuit to ensure adequate compensation, the insurance company may eventually offer a settlement that is more reasonable to the victim.

Experienced car accident attorneys in Tennessee may be able to reduce the stress involved in receiving an acceptable settlement offer. From reviewing the settlement and offering advice to taking a case to court, expertise may significantly affect the outcome. People who feel bullied or intimidated by insurance companies may find relief and adequate compensation for the damages caused by a car crash when they seek the help of a legal professional.

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