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You should be skeptical about first settlement offers

If you're like most Americans who drive, you trust in your insurance company. You probably feel safer getting behind the wheel of your car because you know that you have protection if anything should happen. It's true that carrying insurance is both a legal obligation in Kentucky and a wise decision regardless. After all, it only takes a second for a trip to the store or your daily commute to result in thousands of dollars of property damage or medical bills.

When you're in a crash caused by another driver, you probably assume that your insurance will handle everything. If you get a call offering a cash settlement offer, you may feel relieved. After all, serious injuries could keep you out of work for weeks or even months. You may struggle to pay basic bills after an accident. That doesn't mean you should jump at a settlement offer. Many times, doing so isn't in your best interest.

Insurance companies are in business to make money

You may think that you've been a great customer for your insurance company. You pay your premium on time and have good coverage. Sadly, in the eyes of your insurance company, you become a major liability as soon as you report a crash and file a claim. In order to make a profit, your insurance company needs to keep the amount they pay out on claims as low as possible. That means denying some claims.

It can also mean offering a settlement with a contract agreement that prevents you from claiming additional damages in the future. While a cash payment feels tempting when bills are mounting and you can't work, it may actually be far less than what your accident will really cost you. The insurance company is likely counting on that fact. Remember that you can reject a settlement offer.

Crashes can wrack up expenses for months or longer

It's hard to predict how much a motor vehicle collision will cost you in the immediate aftermath of a dramatic collision. Certain expenses, like repairs to or a replacement for your vehicle, are easy to estimate. Contacting a mechanic or a dealership will give you a good idea of what those expenses will be.

Medical expenses and lost wages can be much more difficult to accurately estimate. For one thing, every body recuperates differently. It's impossible to know when you'll regain full functionality after a crash. Sometimes, especially in cases of lost limbs, traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord injuries, the impact could be lifelong.

Before you accept a settlement, you need to carefully consider how much the accident will cost you over time. You should look at lost wages, medical bills, physical therapy, accommodations and changes in your home and property damage to determine the cost. If the settlement offer from your insurance company isn't close to that figure, you need to make a counter-offer or politely reject their first offer.

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