After an accident, it’s not uncommon for an insurance adjuster to make a low settlement offer, usually their first. A low-ball offer won’t be enough to cover your injuries and damages. You deserve to be fairly compensated when you’re hurt because of someone’s negligence.
The problem is that most people might not recognize a low-ball insurance offer or that it’s usually the first step in the negotiation process. Insurance companies are not on your side.
Here are some ways to identify low-ball insurance offers – and what you can do to get all the compensation you deserve.
6 Warning Signs of a Low-Ball Offer
Know what a low-ball offer looks like before you accept any payout or sign anything from an insurance company.
1. The Offer Arrived Too Quickly
While insurance companies must respond to a claim by a particular deadline, an offer that arrives too fast is a red flag. A fast settlement offer is the first sign of a low-ball offer.
Insurance companies want to get your case settled before you have a chance to research your options or talk to an attorney. Once you accept, you waive your right to file a lawsuit. That’s why a quick offer is usually a dud.
2. Their Math Does Not Add Up
When an insurance company cannot explain how they arrived at their offer, wait. They either ignored liability and injuries evidence or knew you could get more for your case. An insurer who cannot share their calculations might not be offering a fair settlement.
3. They Imply Your Injuries Aren’t Legit
Settlement amounts rely heavily on your injuries’ extent, nature, and severity. If the insurance company implies that your injuries aren’t legitimate, that you’re exaggerating, or that they’re from a preexisting injury, it’s likely too low.
It’s human nature to defend yourself. The insurer might be trying to provoke you into losing your temper. You could inadvertently jeopardize your claim with an angry outburst. Stay calm and contact a lawyer.
4. You’re Being Pressured
Insurance companies know that time is not on their side. They want you to settle right now because the longer you explore your options, the more likely you’ll realize that the offer is too low.
5. They Blame You
In a fault state, the person who caused the accident should pay for the injuries and damages they cause. Some insurance companies try to wiggle out of this obligation by blaming you, the victim, for the accident.
6. Your Calls Go Unanswered
You usually should not accept an insurer’s initial offer. If you reject their offer, you could discover that the insurance adjuster does not answer your calls or ignores your emails. This avoidance tactic attempts to get you to panic and accept their low-ball offer.
Your Next Steps
You have several steps to take when faced with a low-ball insurance offer:
1. Stay Calm
Your first step is staying calm. Most of us don’t get the results we want if we fly off the handle or act out in a rage. Take a deep breath and move on to the next step.
2. Determine Why the Offer Is Low
Next, try to figure out why the offer is so low. Does the insurer deny liability? Did you submit medical documentation? You might need to collect evidence so you can objectively answer their questions.
3. Ask for More
If you have proof that the other party is liable and that your injuries are valid, ask the insurer to increase their offer. You can ask for a specific amount but be warned that it might be lower than their counteroffer.
4. Talk to an Attorney
Personal injury attorneys deal with insurance companies all the time. A lawyer can help you determine if the offer is too low and how much your case might be worth.
How Settlement Negotiations Work
Here is a general idea of the settlement negotiation process:
- You submit your claim.
- The insurance company makes an initial offer, usually for much less than what your case might be worth. They also point out what they think is wrong with your claim, such as your injuries might be from a preexisting condition and not the crash.
- You obtain evidence to correct or justify your claim.
- The insurance company makes a low counteroffer and might pressure you into taking it.
- You can accept their offer or make a counter-demand.
There is a lot of back-and-forth communication, it takes time, and the entire process can be frustrating.
How an Attorney Helps
You have the right to ask an attorney to help you recover a fair settlement. Studies show that injured individuals who work with an attorney are more likely to receive a higher offer than those who pursued compensation alone.
An attorney can highlight the flaws in the insurer’s reasoning for a low-ball offer. There are several advantages to car accident victims when they get an attorney to help them.
As the injured person, you are naturally more emotional about the accident. An attorney can objectively evaluate your injuries and damages. They effectively communicate your wishes using their skills as a negotiator and litigator.
A personal injury lawyer can collect and examine evidence to establish liability. They use this evidence to counter arguments by the insurer that you are to blame.
Assess Your Damages
A lawyer reviews your total losses, both economic and emotional. It is essential to consider your damages now and in the future.
For example, suppose you need ongoing physical therapy or cannot return to your old job. In that case, a lawyer will consider these expenses to demand compensation.
File a Lawsuit
If the insurance company refuses to negotiate in good faith, having a lawyer familiar with your case is helpful if you need to go to court.
Low-Ball Offer? Help Starts Here
Insurance companies hate paying injured people what they deserve. If you’re dealing with a low-ball offer or not sure if you should take the offer, call The Champion Firm for a free consultation. We help injured people recover compensation with exceptional results.
Call 404-596-8044 or contact us online to learn more.