Omid Rejali, Esq.
Insurance companies are in the business of making money and increasing the profits of their shareholders. To that end, they are only looking at their own interests and not of that of an injured party.
If the insurance company is offering to settle your claim for $10,000 you need to be asking yourself several questions.
1) What stage of the process is the claim at? meaning has a lawsuit been filed, or is the offer given before a lawsuit has been filed?
2) What is my attorneys reputation in the community?
3) What are my injuries?
4) What is the property damages amount?
Let's look at this questions from two angles. First, let's assume that you have received this offer prior to filing of a lawsuit.
If this is the case, your claim is at a minimum worth $30,000 to $40,000. Why? Because one of the factors among many others the insurance company looks at when making its offer is its insureds exposure, and the farther away they are from a trial the smaller their exposure is. By the same token, the closer they get to trial the larger their exposure becomes.
Now let's assume a lawsuit has been filed. Once a lawsuit has been filed the time starts ticking. Generally, once a lawsuit has been filed the courts require that a case be tried between 18 to 24 months after filing. So, following that same logic, as the case gets closer to trial, absent any bad facts, meaning you had hid something from your attorney, the offer will increase as the case gets closer to trial.
Ultimately, the decision to settle a case is always the claimant's. However, you want to make sure that you have someone that has your best interest in mind when settling your claim. Make sure that you actually feel comfortable with your attorney.
Thank you for reading my blog. I hope I have been able to give you useful information.
In my following blogs, I will discuss some of the other factors insurance companies consider in making their offers.