What Happens If You Reject a Settlement Offer?
It can be tempting to accept the first settlement offer you receive when pursuing a personal injury claim. However, that first offer may not be a fair estimate for the compensation you deserve.
So what should you do if the insurance company is trying to lowball you? What happens if you reject a settlement offer?
Let’s talk about it.
What Is a Settlement?
First things first: what exactly is a settlement?
If you are injured due to another party’s negligence, Minnesota law gives you the right to pursue compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. This compensation covers damages the injury caused, such as:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
If your claim is successful, the negligent party’s insurance will fund the payout. For example, if your injury resulted from a car accident, the at-fault driver’s auto insurance provider will be responsible for compensating you.
Typically, the insurance company in question will offer to pay you a certain sum of money to “settle” the matter right away. This lets them resolve the claim quickly without worrying about a lengthy legal process.
What Happens If You Accept the Settlement Offer?
If you accept a settlement offer, the insurance company will pay you the promised amount of money. In return, you will agree not to pursue any further legal action against the negligent party (their client). This agreement is permanent. You cannot change your mind later, even if you decide the amount they offered you wasn’t enough to cover your future medical bills.
What Happens If You Reject the Settlement Offer?
If you reject a settlement offer, a few things can happen depending on the details of your case. You may negotiate with the insurance company for a higher settlement amount. However, they may refuse to negotiate a better deal, insisting that their offer was “take it or leave it.”
If they don’t send a better offer—or the follow-up offers are equally unfair—you may have to take your claim to trial. Then, a judge or jury will decide how much compensation to award you. If things get that far, you won’t be able to change your mind and try for a different amount. The court’s decision will be final.
As you can imagine, the choice to accept or reject an insurance company’s settlement offer can have far-reaching consequences. You should never take this decision lightly.
When Should You Reject a Settlement Offer?
The primary reason why you would reject a settlement offer is that you feel the offer is too low. Of course, determining whether an offer is too low is complicated. It changes from case to case.
It would be best if you never accepted or rejected an insurance company’s settlement offer without consulting an experienced personal injury attorney. Your attorney will:
- Evaluate your claim
- Investigate the details of your injury
- Calculate a fair settlement amount
- Help you build a solid case to support your claim
- Negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf
They will also represent you in court if your case goes to trial.
No matter the details of your injury, it’s never wise to make any major decisions until you’ve spoken with an attorney. Without proper legal representation, you could receive less compensation than you’re truly owed.
Get Help from Minnesota’s Largest Personal Injury Law Firm
We wish we could tell you that every insurance company has your best interests at heart. However, most insurance providers are only interested in protecting their bottom line. That means offering you as little as possible—and usually much less than you’re entitled to.
The best way to avoid accepting a lowball settlement offer is to get some expert guidance in your corner.
At SiebenCarey, we’ve helped thousands of personal injury victims get the compensation they need. Just contact us, and our team of veteran attorneys will put their decades of experience to work, helping you win every dollar that’s yours.