Licensed in Missouri and Kansas

Are You Getting a Fair Offer from the Insurance Company?

As a Kansas City personal injury lawyer practicing in the area for over 10 years, I’ve received a lot of calls from people asking whether they should take the insurance company’s settlement offer or hire a lawyer. Oftentimes I’ll recommend people who have been hurt in a car crash to see what kind of offer the insurance company is willing to make before deciding whether to hire a lawyer. This way, you can decide if its financially worth it to hire a lawyer. But how do you know if the offer is fair? Here are 3 things I take into account when considering an insurance company’s settlement offer.

Are the injuries permanent?

Even in seemingly minor crashes, where there’s not a lot of visible property damage to the cars, the injuries can be permanent. Permanence should always make the case more valuable. This is because the victim in the crash is strapped with a lifetime of injury. It could be something as simple as dull back pain or mild headaches. But when compounded over a lifetime, those seemingly minor injuries become major. The insurance carrier should take this into account, especially because those injuries were not the result of some natural aging process; they were thrust into the crash victim’s life without their consent.

Are the injuries visible?

A scar or disfigurement is a constant visual reminder of the defendant’s negligence and should increase the settlement value accordingly. The larger and more visible the scar or disfigurement, the more the insurance company should offer to settle a case. Although scarring and disfigurement is subjective, it should be one of the biggest drivers of value and should represent the largest portion of the money being offered.

How clear is the liability?

An insurance carrier should be willing to offer more settlement money in a crash where its clear their insured is at fault. For example, if the other driver ran a red light or rear-ended you, that’s clearly the other driver’s fault and liability should be uncontested. This removes one of the insurance company’s bargaining chips and should be reflected in their offer.

These are but a few factors I consider when deciding if I should advise my clients to take a settlement offer. I hope they help you in making that decision. If you decide not to take an offer, you are welcome to call my office for a consultation.