How to Reject and Respond to a Low Insurance Settlement Offer
If you were injured in an accident, it can be tempting to accept a settlement offer from the insurance company instead of going toe to toe with them in court. Insurance companies often intimidate people, but it’s important to make sure you get what you deserve. Most personal injury cases end in settlement, so there’s nothing wrong with negotiating and accepting an offer. Just keep in mind that a crucial aspect of this is having an experienced lawyer who can assist you in this process so the insurance company doesn’t take advantage of you.
Why Insurance Companies Offer Low Settlements
The insurance companies are always looking out for themselves and their profits. Therefore, any settlement they offer at first will certainly be less than what you actually deserve. This is a way to negotiate and make sure they pay out as little money as possible. Many people want the case to be over with, so instead of negotiating, they will just take what is offered because it feels a lot better than potentially receiving nothing.
It’s also possible that the adjuster didn’t have all of the information and couldn’t make a decision that was as informed as it could be. If they don’t have all of the medical expenses and other details about the case, they can’t make an appropriate offer.
How to Respond
If you received a low settlement offer, it’s important to know how to respond. The following steps can be helpful in doing this:
Your first reaction to a low settlement might be anger and confusion. Try to stay calm and look at the situation objectively. Additionally, talk to your lawyer and see what they think. It’s also important that you don’t accept their first offer out of fear or intimidation.
After you receive the offer and take time to process it emotionally, you should start considering why the offer was so low. Was it just a tactic because it was their first offer? Or are there significant weaknesses in your claim that you haven’t seen yet? You and your lawyer can ask the adjuster to break down the offer and explain why they offered what they did. They must tell you what their reasoning is.
This can be helpful because if you find out that the offer is low because they are missing information, you can provide them with more evidence and try to receive a higher offer.
Another important step is to consider what your counteroffer will be if you aren’t willing to accept their settlement offer. Your attorney should help you with this. When making a counteroffer, it’s important to look at the strength of your claim, the evidence you have provided, and the insurance company’s policy limits.
Always Respond in Writing
Any time you respond to a settlement offer, it should be done in writing. Making sure you have all communication in writing is the best way to ensure that nothing gets confused. When you send it in writing, the insurance company can’t say they never received it or try to twist your words.
Don’t Accept a Settlement Offer Before You Heal
Finally, it’s important not to accept any settlement offer before you’re mostly or completely healed from your injuries. As soon as you accept the offer, you will no longer be able to negotiate or recover any more compensation. If you haven’t yet realized the full extent of your injuries and how much it is going to affect and cost you, you could end up accepting an offer that is significantly less than what you deserve.
If you need help with a personal injury claim or responding to an insurance company’s low settlement offer, contact our Los Angeles personal injury lawyers for a free consultation.