Did you know that you don't have to accept a settlement offer from an insurer? If you disagree with the offer, you can decline it. However, rejecting a settlement offer isn't as simple as saying, “Sorry, I won't accept it.” Instead, before rejecting a settlement offer, it's important to think through this decision.
The primary reason for rejecting such an offer is that it does not meet your needs. In other words, you believe that you may be entitled to more than what the other party has offered. However, while attorneys can help you negotiate a better offer, they must also be realistic.
You've probably read or heard that having an attorney significantly increases your chances of settling the case. That's correct. But what most people won't tell you is that attorneys can't work miracles.
They can't make the other party pay you an unreasonable amount of money. For example, if your injury is worth $10,000, having an attorney doesn't mean the other party will agree to pay $1,000,000 for the same injury. Rather, the whole point of having an attorney is to maximize your claim.
This means that the attorney can help ensure you receive compensation for everything you're entitled to based on your injuries. It doesn't mean that you'll recover what you're not entitled to. This explains why the insurance company will want you to provide sufficient evidence for every claim you make. For example, if you claim medical expenses, you must be able to provide evidence, such as medical receipts, to prove your claim.
Another thing you need to know is that once you reject a settlement offer, the offer is considered 'dead'. You can't go back to reclaim the offer when you change your mind. This is the primary reason we mentioned that you need to think through things before rejecting an offer.
While accepting the initial offer is never advisable (because it's usually lower than what you're entitled to), you shouldn't rush to reject it. Instead, you need to seek legal counsel before making such a decision.
Rejecting a Settlement Offer in Court
The process of rejecting a settlement offer in court varies depending on the jurisdiction. As mentioned earlier, this isn't something you should dare take on without the help of a legal representative. It's quite easy to make certain irreversible mistakes, jeopardizing your chances of receiving compensation for your injuries.
All the insurance company needs to do is tell the court that you rejected the initial offer. When that happens, you'll bear the blame if you didn't think through things before declining the offer.
Always consult with an experienced attorney to help you handle this process. Such an attorney knows the tactics insurance companies use to deny injury victims the kind of settlement they need and deserve. Additionally, these attorneys know that injury victims who don't have legal representation are likely to make mistakes along the way. As mentioned earlier, rejecting a settlement offer without consulting an attorney is a good example of such a mistake.