An accident can cause significant injuries to a victim, leading to expensive medical bills and other related costs. The value of a personal injury claim can be substantial to pay for all of a victim’s past, present and future losses. An insurance company, however, may do everything that it can to limit a victim’s payout, as insurers are for-profit organizations. Here’s what to do if you receive a low insurance settlement offer for your personal injury case.
Be Prepared for a Low Offer
You are already completing the first step by learning more about your rights as a plaintiff. The more you know about what to expect from the insurance process, the more prepared you will be. Know that the insurance company that you deal with after an accident – even if it is your own insurer and you have never missed a payment – is not on your side. Insurance companies look out for their bottom lines more than their clients. Keep this in mind throughout the claims process.
Be prepared for the insurance company’s first settlement offer to be low. This is a tactic that insurance companies use for two reasons: to set the bar low with the expectation that the client will negotiate for a higher amount, and to minimize a client’s payout if he or she does not know how to negotiate. Being prepared for a low settlement offer can prevent you from accepting it, as well as allow you to stay calm and take the correct steps to submit a counteroffer.
Consider Your Options
While it is true that an insurance company’s first offer is generally low, it is still important to take your time and consider the offer against the hassle of countering it and negotiating. Learn what your case is worth by calculating all of the expenses related to your accident, as well as estimating how much you will continue to spend in the future. Then, look at the language of the insurance policy to determine its limits.
You should also consider whether the insurance company has given you a valid reason to decrease your payment. Determine how much more you would need from the insurance company to feel like you have been made whole financially. Weighing all of this against the steps you will need to take to negotiate for a higher offer can help you decide what to do next. Advice from an attorney can also help you make the right choice.
Submit a Formal Counteroffer
If you wish to negotiate with the insurance company for a higher settlement offer, reject the offer correctly. You or your personal injury lawyer will need to draft a formal business letter that makes a case for your counteroffer. Your letter should be clear and concise. It should state that the settlement offer is unacceptable and give an acceptable figure. It should explain why your counteroffer is reasonable and appropriate, giving reasons and explaining your losses and demands. It can also refute the reason the insurer gave for its low offer.
Your counteroffer should be professional. It should not be angry or accusatory in tone. To work toward a reasonable settlement agreement with the insurance company, your counteroffer should be less than your initial demand. This will show the insurance company that you are willing to compromise. It is difficult to say how many counteroffers your case will need to reach an amount that you believe is fair for your injuries and losses. You may never reach this amount, and may need to either accept the settlement or take your case to trial.
Get Assistance From an Attorney
It is important to work with an attorney for assistance rejecting and responding to a low insurance settlement offer. This is a delicate phase of your claim. Once you accept an offer, you cannot reopen your case. Rejecting the offer in the wrong way, however, could make the insurance company less likely to work with you to achieve a reasonable settlement. A personal injury lawyer in Dallas can help you communicate with an insurance company in the most effective way possible.