Responding to a Low Personal Injury Settlement Offer
When you are injured in an accident, you should keep the receipts of your medical expenses, car repair costs and others so that you can know how much compensation to demand from the responsible party. This amount will then be communicated in writing to the insurer of the party responsible for your injury.
In most cases, the insurance company will respond with a counter offer. After examining all the evidence of your personal injury claim, they may feel that the amount you are asking for is too high and may offer to settle with a much lower amount. If this happens, do not panic, or feel pressured to give in. Insurance companies are interested in protecting their profits and therefore, it is expected that they will offer you a smaller amount. Instead of accepting the settlement, this is what you should do:
i) Calm down and analyze the offer
The way your case will progress will depend on how you respond to the offer provided by the insurance company. Therefore, take your time before you respond. Do not be outraged with the offer, no matter how small it is. The insurance company will be looking to find out whether you are desperate for money and will know this by the way you react to the offer.
ii) Write back to the insurance company
Your attorney will discuss with the insurance company to find out why your initial offer was rejected and why the smaller settlement was instead proposed. For instance, they could feel that the documentation provided does not provide sufficient information regarding the seriousness of your injuries.
Once these justifications are received, your personal injury lawyer will now be better placed to source for additional documents where necessary, and formulate an official response to the initial offer. Your lawyer should respond to the insurance company in writing and address any issues that may have been raised in the previous communication.
iii) Propose a counter settlement
When responding to the insurance company, you lawyer will address any issues raised before and propose a lower settlement than you had requested in the first communication. At this point, negotiations would have started and it will be up to each side to see how much they can yield to the other party’s demands.
The insurance adjuster will then also respond either in agreement or with another counter offer. This is expected as part of the settlement negotiation process.
iv) The agreement should be done in writing
When the negotiations are successful, your attorney will draft an agreement letter and keep a copy on your behalf. The agreement will state how much should be paid and within what time period.