Should You Refuse a Car Accident Settlement? | Dreyer Boyajian LLP

What Happens If You Refuse a Car Accident Settlement Offer?

When you have an insurance claim after a car accident in New York, one possibility is that you will resolve your claim via settlement. In fact, the majority of successful claims settle without ever going to court.

However, a settlement offer is not guaranteed. Even if you receive a settlement offer, there is no guarantee that the offer will be fair. As a result, you need to know how much you are entitled to recover, and you need to know when to say “No.”

Rejecting a Settlement Offer After a Car Accident

What happens when you reject a settlement offer? The simple answer is “Nothing.” Your insurance claim stays open, and you can keep fighting for the full compensation you deserve.

With that said, there are some important facts for you to know before you reject a settlement offer after a car accident in New York. For example:

  • Once you reject a settlement offer, the offer is off of the table. You only get one chance to accept or reject a settlement offer. If you reject it, you cannot go back and change your mind later.
  • If the insurance company thinks its offer is fair, it might not make another one. While insurance companies often make “low ball” settlement offers, if your insurance company makes an offer that it thinks is fair, it might not keep negotiating if you reject.
  • If you don’t receive another settlement offer, your only option will be to take your claim to court. Since there is no way to force the insurance companies to negotiate, if you reject a settlement offer and you don’t receive another one, you will need to present your case at trial.

As you can see, while rejecting a settlement offer does not necessarily have a direct impact on the status of your insurance claim, it can have consequences that could make it more difficult to recover your losses. By the same token, however, you also need to be very careful to ensure that you do not settle for less than you deserve.

How Do You Decide to Accept or Reject a Settlement Offer?

Deciding to accept or reject a settlement requires a comprehensive understanding of your losses, your rights under New York law, and the insurance coverage that is available. By taking all three of these factors into account, you can make a smart decision about whether to accept a settlement offer or keep fighting for more.

1. Your Losses

When you have an insurance claim resulting from a car accident in New York, the amount you can recover is based on your actual losses. There is no “standard” settlement amount, and you cannot pull an amount that seems “fair” out of thin air. Instead, you must calculate the financial and non-financial costs you have incurred—and will incur—as a result of the collision.

2. Your Rights Under New York Law

New York has a “no fault” insurance law, and this law can have a drastic impact on your rights after a collision. Unless you have suffered a “serious injury,” your only option is to file a claim under your personal injury protection (PIP) insurance policy. New York’s “no fault” insurance law requires all drivers to carry a minimum of $50,000 in PIP coverage.

If you meet the threshold for filing a claim outside of PIP, then you need to be able to prove that the other driver caused the accident. You may also be able to pursue claims against other negligent parties (such as the manufacturer of a defective vehicle component or the government entity responsible for a dangerous roadway). You will need to carefully decide when – and if – to settle each individual claim.

3. Available Insurance Coverage

The final major factor to consider is how much insurance will cover in the event of an accident. If your losses total $200,000 but an insurance policy only provides $100,000 in coverage, you probably don’t want to reject an offer at the policy limit. On the other hand, if full coverage is available to you, you don’t want to settle for a fraction of what you are rightfully owed.

Deciding whether to accept or reject a settlement offer after a car accident is not easy. It requires an understanding of how much more (if any) you are entitled to recover, and it also requires an understanding of the level of risk you are willing to take in order to seek additional compensation.

As a result, rejecting (or accepting) a settlement offer is not a decision that you can afford to take lightly. In order to ensure that you make the right decision, you should rely on the advice of an experienced attorney.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer Today

You should not have to shoulder the costs associated with an accident by yourself. Although insurance may cover some of your losses, crashes involving serious injuries often exceed policy limits.

At Dreyer Boyajian LLP, we don’t settle for less. Our attorneys are dedicated to seeking the full compensation each client deserves.

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If you have questions about your legal rights after a car accident, please call Dreyer Boyajian LLP at (518) 463-7784 today for a free consultation. Our car accident attorneys serve clients in Albany, Troy, Schenectady, Saratoga Springs, and other areas of New York.

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