In Iowa, you definitely do not have to accept an insurance company settlement offer, but there are several things to keep in mind:
1. Are your injuries minor such that you may be better off settling the case on your own in order to avoid having to pay an attorney a percentage of your settlement?
2. If your medical bills have been paid by your health insurance or another insurance company, who will be reimbursing them? This is called subrogation and can cost you your entire settlement if you do not know what you are doing.
3. How much time do you have until the statute of limitations expires and you will likely receive nothing?
If you don't know the answers to any of the above questions, then we strongly recommend that you at least contact and speak with a qualified Iowa injury attorney. Failing to do so could cost you thousands of dollars and sometimes your entire case.
Keep in mind that it is very rare that the insurance company's first offer is their best offer. You should definitely try to negotiate with the insurance adjuster in any case in which you are trying to represent yourself, but keep in mind the following:
1. Anything you tell the insurance adjuster can and will be used against you in your claim and later on if there is a lawsuit so be careful about what you tell the insurance adjustor, but definitely do not lie. Keep in mind that if you have prior injuries and accidents, they will find out about them in their database that insurance companies share with each other.
2. It is not a good idea to threaten the insurance adjustor. As with most things in life, being nice will get you a lot further than being upset and angry with someone.
3. You should know your facts including how the injuries happened, who you treated with and the conditions you have been diagnosed with.
Before you agree to any settlement offer in a case involving injuries, it is always a good idea to speak with a qualified Iowa injury attorney in order to find out if you are being taken advantage of or being treated fairly. Yes, you can ask your family and friends what they think, but it is better to ask someone who deals with insurance companies on a daily basis and who has handled hundreds of injury cases similar to yours. No two cases are identical, they all share common items.
How to evaluate the value of a claim
a. The severity and extent of the injuries;
b. The nature of the injuries such as multiple body parts being injured;
c. Are there objective injuries like broken bones?
d. Were they hospitalized?
e. Did they require surgery?
f. How much time did they miss from work?
g. Where are they working when they were injured?
h. How much insurance coverage is available?
i. Is there a claim to be brought for underinsured motorist coverage?