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When (Not) to Accept an Insurance Company’s Offer

Seth Harris

Last modified on August 28, 2023

Insurance companies are businesses with one main goal: To make a profit. That means they aren’t always looking out for your best interests, especially after an accident. This principle often leads insurers to make offers that don’t fully compensate you for your injuries and losses.

The Harris Keenan & Goldfarb team believes in the power of knowledge. This is especially true when dealing with insurance companies. You should think twice before saying “yes” to an insurance company’s settlement.

What Constitutes a Fair Insurance Settlement?

In the wake of an accident, victims often face mounting medical bills, lost wages, and a whirlwind of emotions. An insurance settlement can offer a respite from these burdens. But how do you determine whether the insurance company’s settlement offer is fair? A reasonable settlement should comprehensively address several critical aspects of any accident or injury:

  • Medical Expenses: This is often the most tangible and immediate cost following an injury. A fair settlement should cover past medical bills and anticipated future expenses related to the injury. These include rehabilitation, therapy, and any necessary surgeries.
  • Lost Wages: If an injury forces a plaintiff to take time off work or, worse still, prevents them from returning to work entirely, a settlement must include compensation for these lost wages.
  • Pain and Suffering: It’s challenging to put a dollar value on emotional distress or physical pain. But it’s an essential component of any settlement.
  • Property Damage: If the incident resulted in damaged property, the cost of repairing or replacing it should be part of the settlement.
  • Permanent Disability or Disfigurement: If an injury leads to permanent disability or significant disfigurement, it’s crucial to consider the lifelong implications of these conditions. A fair settlement will factor in the long-term effects on quality of life, ability to work, and the costs of assistive devices or treatments.
  • Out-of-Pocket Costs: Sometimes, miscellaneous costs are associated with an injury. These can include hiring help around the house and paying for transportation to medical appointments. Though sometimes overlooked, these costs are real and should be included in a settlement.

Reasons to Reject an Insurer’s Settlement Offer

While every personal injury case has unique elements, there are some common situations in which the smart move is to reject the insurance company’s offer. Those situations include:

  • Insufficient Medical Evaluation: If you receive an offer before a comprehensive medical evaluation, accepting an insurer’s offer is premature. Injuries, especially those from accidents, can have delayed symptoms. Accepting an early offer could mean you are not compensated for late-appearing complications.
  • Not Considering Future Costs: An offer that only compensates you for current medical bills without considering future treatments, surgeries, or therapies might be inadequate. Always think long-term when assessing a settlement offer.
  • Disregarding Intangible Losses: Pain, suffering, emotional distress, and a reduced quality of life are all valid losses. This is true even if they don’t come with a straightforward price tag. If an offer doesn’t account for these non-specific costs, think twice before accepting it.
  • Low-Ball Offers: It’s common for insurance companies to test the waters with an offer far lower than what’s reasonable, hoping you’ll accept. If an offer seems too low, it probably is.
  • Pressure to Settle Quickly: If an insurance company is pressing you to make a hasty decision or is hurrying the process, this could be a red flag. They might be trying to get you to settle before you realize the full extent of your losses.
  • Lack of Legal Counsel: If you’re negotiating without guidance from a personal injury attorney, the insurance company might perceive you as an easier target for a lower settlement. Before accepting any offer, it’s always wise to consult with a lawyer who can assess the true value of your claim.

What Happens If You Reject an Insurance Company’s Offer?

When you turn down an insurer’s proposal, it typically leads to further negotiations. Mediation might be the next step, as it’s an informal way to reach an agreement. However, if a solution remains elusive, the next step could be filing a personal injury lawsuit and initiating a legal process culminating in a court trial. While there’s potential for a higher financial award throughout the lawsuit process, it’s essential to be prepared for a longer timeframe before your case concludes.

With more than $500 million in compensation recovered for our clients, the Harris Keenan & Goldfarb team has the drive, experience, and skill set to help you reach a fair settlement. Call [phone-number linked=true] today or complete our contact form for a free case review.

Over $500 Million in Verdicts and Settlements

Our track record showcases over $500 million won for our clients. Each victory underlines our commitment to justice and client care. Explore our impact, case by case.



A Brooklyn jury awarded Mr. Vargas $17.5 million for the City of New York’s violation of his civil rights for failing to provide him medical care while in custody. The jury found that the police officers involved failed to provide the necessary medical treatment and awarded $17.5 million to Mr. Vargas.



Harris Keenan & Goldfarb partners Seth Harris and Sheri Holland obtained a $4,730,398.00 jury verdict on behalf of our client who tripped and fell at a private apartment building in the Bronx, suffering a broken foot that developed a very painful, permanent neurological condition called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (“RSD”).



A Bronx jury awarded John Doe over $12 million for an accident on a construction site. John Doe was working when a piece of scaffold weighing 35 pounds fell, striking John Doe in the lower back. John Doe suffered a herniated disc requiring surgical removal of a portion of the disc and permanent nerve damage.



A Bronx jury awarded $10.5 million to the mother of Malcolm Ferguson, who was wrongfully shot and killed by the New York City Police Department. The police officer, Louis Rivera, also a defendant in the case, was found to have used excessive force in violation of Malcolm Ferguson’s civil rights as protected under the United States Constitution.



A Bronx jury awarded plaintiff William Cardoza $4 million for injuries caused by the use of excessive force during an arrest. During the arrest, Mr. Cardoza was pepper-sprayed and repeatedly hit with a police nightstick. As a result, Mr. Cardoza sustained injuries to his hand and finger.



The firm’s client, a 33-year-old teacher’s assistant, was scalded by an espresso machine that exploded while the defendant’s employee was demonstrating how the machine worked. The client was a customer at the defendant’s coffee shop on the date of the accident and suffered first-degree burns to her right (dominant) hand.



The firm represented the mother- decedent and her infant son. During the decedent’s admission to the defendant hospital, the defendant dispensed anesthesia during an epidural to the decedent in an inadequate manner. The mother-decedent suffered personal injuries and wrongful death due to the defendant’s failure to properly administer epidural anesthesia.



Mr.Brennan fell from approximately 25 feet while working on a construction project. He suffered a shattered bone in his right leg requiring surgery and hardware placement. Mr. Brennan also suffered two fractures in his facial bones, and a dislocated finger requiring surgical repair.



The firm’s client was a child with cerebral palsy who was injured as a result of medical malpractice. The firm’s clients claimed improper management of pregnancy, labor, and delivery resulting in brain damage, and received a Brooklyn personal injury settlement.



The firm’s client, a 63-year-old mentally incompetent man, slipped and fell in his own urine while attempting to walk to the bathroom at the defendant’s senior citizen home. The client fractured his hip and as a result is confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. The client claimed that the staff of the home failed to properly care for him, and the jury awarded $1,677,835.



The firm’s client, a 47-year-old male, slipped and fell on a public sidewalk in the Bronx. It had snowed four to five days prior to the date of the accident, and the sidewalk was covered with ice. The client suffered a lumbar fracture and a herniated disc. The jury found the city liable and awarded the client a $2,995,000 personal injury settlement in the Bronx.



A Bronx jury awarded plaintiff Luis Molina $2.61 million for injuries sustained when he fell down a subway station stairway. Mr. Molina was caused to slip and fall as a result of a plastic bag that had blown onto the steps from a street opening. As a result of the fall, Mr. Molina suffered a herniated disc and a tear of his right shoulder’s rotator cuff. The jury found that the NYC Transit Authority was liable for the accident.



A Bronx jury awarded Ms. Colon $2.25 million for a trip and fall accident. Ms. Colon was caused to fall when she moved to the right to allow another pedestrian to pass, and her foot rolled to the outside due to the sidewalk being unlevel with the adjoining grass. The jury found the defendant liable and awarded Ms. Colon $2,253,714.00 for her pain and suffering.



A Brooklyn jury awarded Arvella Floyd $1.9 million for a fractured wrist which required multiple surgeries, including an open-reduction internal fixation and a carpal tunnel release. Ms. Floyd was injured when the hot water knob of the shower fell off after numerous complaints to the superintendent, and scalding water spewed toward her, causing her to
fall and break her wrist.



A Bronx jury awarded plaintiff Juanita Young $1,350,000 for injuries caused by the use of excessive force during an arrest. During the arrest, Ms. Young, who is legally blind, was handcuffed from behind, with her children watching, and taken to the top of the stairs to exit the building. The officer proceeded to push her down the stairs multiple times.

What Our Clients Say About Us

arien machicotearien machicote
20:55 17 Jul 24
I must say I am extremely happy and amazed at the incredible work at Harris, Keenan & Goldfarb they were always available if I had any questions and they were always answered with very professionallyJason Steinberg is a great lawyer and I will always highly suggest this law firm and team to anyone out their. Thank you again to everyone at this incredible Firm!!!
Cole ColdwaterCole Coldwater
19:36 20 Jun 24
My experience with Harris Keenan and Goldfarb was wonderful. My legal representative, Steven LaRocca with Samantha Walton always made me feel well defended and cared for, in a way that went beyond professional representation and into the realm of caring about me on a personal level. Steven, Samantha and Seth Harris got me a great outcome and I can’t thank them enough!
Jennifer RosarioJennifer Rosario
14:16 05 Jun 24
The best law firm I have ever went with thank you so much
david Santiagodavid Santiago
18:05 21 Mar 24
Maria RoqueMaria Roque
20:49 15 Mar 24
Excellent person, very Professional, they assist you in any language, your call is always answered. I recommend you for any case of support you have, your refund is satisfactory. and fast
14:09 02 Mar 24
I am completely satisfied, and recommend Harris Keenan & Goldfarb as Attorneys to represent anyone. Their care for me physically, and overall helped me stay strong in spite of my injuries. Always available to answer questions, and inform.They got me Justice, and achieved a substantial outcome for my case.I am very impressed, and thankful for their outstanding performance on my behalf.I am very pleased, and significantly satisfied with their representation.‐-Sherylon Wilkins
Robert LennonRobert Lennon
15:26 21 Feb 24
Patient and diligence is how I describe the effort of HKG the work was thorough, honest and fair, I have no complaints. Special thanks to attorney Blake and his paralegal Thierry.
Gene Matos (fanboye)Gene Matos (fanboye)
18:48 15 Jan 24
I first crossed paths with Seth Harris when serving jury duty many years ago. He was so professional and personable, that when my mom was seeking legal counsel for medical malpractice, I told her she had to reach out to his firm. We had meetings with a few different firms, but Harris Keenan & Goldfarb was the only firm that did not try to get us to sign paperwork before even meeting. They took the time to listen and understand our situation before we signed anything, and they were transparent and responsive the whole time. I would like to give special thanks to Samantha Walton, Marla Stein, Val Wallace and Seth Harris for helping my mom through this tough time. They were honest and upfront, and even though Seth Harris wasn't personally on the case, he took the time to meet with us and give us his thoughts on it.
Solange IsaacSolange Isaac
17:52 08 Jan 24
I am pleased with the services provided by Ms Sheri on my case. The team at Harris, Keenan, & Goldfarb were very nice and explained everything to me. Everything that I had questions on they answered without frustration and were prompt and knowledgeable.6 years ago I had a slip and fall accident at my employers place of business. I reached out to them because I knew that I was being wrongfully treated. They took care of the case, restored my self confidence, and brought so much peace to my problem riddled life.I can recommend without a shadow of a doubt the services of Harris, Keenan & Goldfarb to anyone who is in need of someone who will have your back!
Brittany DempseyBrittany Dempsey
16:02 08 Jan 24
My mother had an accident with her ankle back in 2019. I immediately contacted Harris, Keenan & Goldfarb on the day of the accident. They were extremely prompt and helpful. They attended to my mother's case beautifully and she's been recovering well. I'd like to thank you for being so diligent, kind and above all professional. I'd recommend this law firm to anyone who are injured and in need of legal assistance. My mother, Andrea, and I thank you for everything.
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