Receive a Low Insurance Settlement Offer After a Car Accident?
You were hurt in a car accident as a result of someone else’s carelessness. You received treatment, and your condition improved over time. You did everything correctly and expected the insurance company to do the right thing and offer you a fair settlement. The insurance company’s offer, to your surprise, was not reasonable; instead, it was a low insurance settlement offer. So, what should you do if you are presented with a low settlement offer?
Your natural reaction may be to react with rage and hostility. You didn’t do anything wrong, and all you want is for your medical bills to be paid. However, responding emotionally is not the best way to respond to a low settlement offer. So, how do you fight the low settlement offer from your auto insurance company?
WHY DID I GET A SMALL SETTLEMENT OFFER?
It’s critical to understand why an insurance company offers a low settlement. It’s possible that the insurance adjuster doesn’t have all of the relevant medical bills and records to back up your claim, resulting in a low settlement offer. If you do not have a lawyer, simply call the adjuster and ask what factors they considered when determining their settlement offer to see if they are missing anything. If the request is based on a partial picture of your claim, provide the missing medical bills and records and urge the adjuster to re-evaluate the claim.
For a variety of reasons, the adjuster may be making a low settlement offer. For example, the settlement offer could be low because the vehicles were not severely damaged, there were significant gaps in medical treatment, or you had pre-existing injuries to the same body parts that were injured in the crash. These arguments can be complicated, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution, but it’s best to understand the adjuster’s reasoning so you can confront them head-on.
What to Do If You’ve Received a Low Settlement Offer
1. Consult a Personal Injury Attorney
If you are handling your pain and suffering claim without the assistance of a lawyer, you are likely to have received a low settlement offer. When personal injury victims attempt to handle their pain and suffering claims without the assistance of a lawyer, insurance companies usually try to exploit the situation by making low settlement offers. The insurance company will often assume that because you do not have a personal injury lawyer handling your claim, you do not know how much your claim is worth or how much compensation you are entitled to. They will also figure that you will not have the knowledge or ability to take the case to trial, and that therefore your only choice will be to take the highest offer they make.
2. Calculate the Compensation You’ll Need
An attorney can assist you in calculating the amount of compensation you require, including both economic and non-economic damages. This will cover everything from your current and future medical bills to the mental anguish you have experienced due to the accident. In addition, an experienced attorney can ensure that you know your recovery rights and that you are not overlooking any critical factors in your calculations.
3. Keep Your Counteroffer Reasonable
Many people who have never dealt with a personal injury claim think their first offer or counteroffer should be the highest feasible (a “pie in the sky” number). But, unfortunately, let’s say your counteroffer falls outside of what a knowledgeable personal injury attorney would consider.
In that case, the adjuster is unlikely to take you seriously and reconsider their low offer. Adjusters frequently shut down negotiations as a waste of time when someone’s expectations are outside of the reasonable range. This is usually when your proposal will receive a take it or leave it response.
4. The Delay Tactic
Some insurance firms will attempt to prolong the procedure in order to sabotage your claim. Furthermore, if you wait too long, you may completely waive your claim due to a statute of limitations. According to a general rule, the longer the delay in settlement, the better for the insurance company.
5. Reject and dismiss
You and your attorney must properly reject the low settlement offer. Because the initial offer was written, the rejection will be reported as well and will address each point raised during the offer, including any findings that you were partially responsible for the crash. You’ll also use your calculations to develop a counteroffer amount and arguments for why you deserve the damages sought.
6. Decide whether or not you’ll go to court.
Determining whether you are willing to go to court to obtain compensation is a difficult part of insurance settlement negotiations. The insurer is unlikely to accept your counteroffer outright. Instead, they may offer the same or a slightly higher amount than the first offer. Your lawyer can assist you in continuing to communicate with the insurer to reach an acceptable settlement. If negotiations fail, you must decide whether you are willing to go to court or accept a less-than-ideal amount.