You sustained injuries in a car accident. You then submitted your insurance demand letter to the at-fault party’s insurance company. They came back with an offer that is significantly lower than what you asked for, and you don’t know how to respond to a low insurance settlement offer.
How you as an injured party respond to this offer will determine the outcome of your personal injury lawsuit.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to respond to a low insurance settlement offer. It’s always a good idea, however, to get an attorney’s help. An attorney will analyze the specifics of your accident and make recommendations based on your unique situation.
Be Aware: You’re in a Negotiation
Although you may wish to believe the insurance company is there to help, unfortunately, they’re only there to pay out as little as possible.
Insurance companies are for-profit businesses. Depending on what kind of personal injury lawsuit you have filed, the insurance company likely has an incentive to stall. That’s because insurance companies don’t just sit on the money that their clients pay them. They actually invest that money. The longer the money stays invested, the more likely it is that it will accrue value and diminish their losses.
While this may frustrate you, it’s a good idea to stay calm. What you don’t want to do is call up the insurance adjuster or the defense attorney and start insulting them with spicy invective. You want to maintain your cool and stay professional. Usually, the first offer from an insurance company is just a jumping-off point to start negotiations.
In other words, the situation you’re in is just that: a negotiation. The longer you stay patient with the process, the more likely you are to receive the full value of your claim.
Respond in Writing
Insurance adjusters are in the business of making money for their employer. That means they’re looking for reasons to deny or devalue your claim. Nonetheless, they are restricted by Washington laws in terms of what they can and cannot do.
For instance, if an insurance adjuster does not have sufficient information concerning your injuries, they’ll simply interpret that lack of information in favor of their employer. That’s their job. They’ll interpret ambiguities in police records in favor of their client.
Before you submit a formal response in writing, you can call the insurance adjuster to get more information on why the offer was so low.
After that, however, you must respond in writing. Your response should focus on the insurance company’s reasons for offering the low amount of money. You will need to provide evidence for whatever claims you are making. In other words, you want to chip away at their justifications. If lack of information is a justification, you want to provide more information.
Next, you’ll want to up the ante. Specifically, that means focusing on non-economic damages. If you sustained a wrist injury in a fall, you have likely already described the incident and the subsequent surgeries it required.
Now, you want to start piling on. You want to describe your pain and suffering. You want to tell the insurance company about how you can’t play tennis anymore. You want them to know it makes it more difficult for you to type.
Submit a Counteroffer
At this point, you may wish to submit a counteroffer. Your counteroffer should be reasonable, but it should also be calculated to cover you for your damages. Never accept the first low settlement amount the insurance company offers
You Deserve Your Actual Damages
Reducing your number slightly is ok, but it’s important to remember that the insurance adjuster can and will stall indefinitely. On the other hand, insurance companies do not like it when cases go into litigation. The threat of litigation won’t scare them, but cases are expensive to litigate. At that point, it’s a numbers game. Is the cost of sending the case before a judge and jury worth it?
You only get one chance to collect damages for your injury. Insurance companies bank on the fact that you’re probably hurting for cash, especially if you’ve missed time from work. They want to force your hand.
You, nonetheless, are entitled to the full value of your damages. That includes non-economic damages like pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment.
Get Help From An Experienced Attorney
Going into a negotiation with the insurance company on your own can be a nightmare. They know that you are handling your claim alone. Because of that, they’ll treat you as poorly as possible. As much as we want to believe that the insurance companies have our best interests at heart, the truth is, they’re more concerned about profit.
If you’re thinking about how to respond to a low insurance settlement offer, the best thing you can do is get help from an experienced personal injury attorney.
Call an attorney before you talk to the insurance company. The skilled attorneys at Kapuza Lighty PLLC have obtained excellent settlements for our clients. Don’t let the insurance companies dictate the outcome. Give us a call or contact us online, and we’ll begin preparing your case immediately.