Insurance Settlement Offer Too Low? You Have Options
On behalf of Mike Breen, Attorney at Law, P.S.C. posted in blog on Tuesday, September 19, 2017.
Nobody likes to start off first thing Monday morning with a car crash. Unfortunately, it happens. You could be sitting at a traffic light, patiently waiting for it to change to green, when suddenly a car comes from behind and rear-ends you. Now, you not only have to miss work, but you have to go to the hospital and fix your car. Monday just became very expensive. But, it was the other driver’s fault, so surely his insurance will cover all the damage. What if it doesn’t? What if the insurance company offers a ridiculously low settlement that does not even come close to covering your losses?
This is the game that insurance companies play. They are in the business of charging their customs high premiums and retaining as much of that money as possible. The last thing the insurer wants to do is pay out the full cost of a car wreck. Fortunately, when the insurance company comes in low, you do not have to accept it. Read further to find out more about reaching a fair settlement with an insurer after a motor vehicle collision.
Examine the offer
Insurance companies base their settlement offers on the specifics of each case. If the insurer does not have all the information that pertains to your situation, that may lead to a low initial settlement offer. For example, the insurance company may not have all the information that is relevant to your injuries or perhaps the adjuster they sent out to examine your vehicle only looked at the body damage and did not account for damage under the hood. Or, perhaps the insurer believes you share a substantial amount of fault for the wreck. In many cases, a low settlement is just a negotiating tactic.
Respond in writing
After the insurer offers you a low settlement, respond in writing. By doing this, you can lay out a well-developed argument to support your claim and request the specifics for the insurer’s initial offer. If it is simply a matter of insufficient evidence, then perhaps all you will need to do is provide the appropriate documentation from your doctor and the car repair shop. A written response also gives you the opportunity to address any mental or emotional distress you are suffering as a side effect of the wreck.
Counter their offer
When the insurance company offers a low settlement, you do not simply have to accept or reject it. You can actually make a counteroffer with an amount that you think is fair. The insurance company may then submit their own counter. This type of interaction can actually carry on for some time until both you and the insurer agree on a settlement.
Take legal action
If negotiation does not work and you and the insurer cannot come to an agreement, you have the option to take legal action. You can file a lawsuit in court for your injuries. Taking such an action may prompt the insurer to offer a more reasonable settlement instead of risking a judgment in your favor. On the other hand, you open yourself to the risk that you could lose the case.
If you have been the victim of a negligent driver and the car insurance company is not offering fair compensation for the damages, you still have options. You do not have to take the first, second or even third offer the insurance company makes if it does not cover your losses.