Being involved in a personal injury claim often involves long and arduous negotiations with an insurance company, hoping to reach an acceptable settlement. The first offer from the insurance company will rarely be the figure you are looking for; in fact, it may be much lower than you expected. If you receive a low offer, there are a few things you can do to successfully counter it.
First, carefully evaluate any offer you receive from the insurance company. Review the offer with your attorney, being careful to read its terms and conditions and note the amount being offered. strive to stay professional. remember that you will need to maintain a good working relationship with the insurance company to reach an agreement.
How do you know if a settlement offer is too low?
By the time your settlement offer arrives, your attorney should have thoroughly explored the facts of your case, determined your damages, gathered relevant evidence, and made a reasonably accurate assessment of what your case is worth. Generally speaking, the settlement offer should compensate for your damages. this could include concrete damages like medical bills and lost wages, or more subjective damages like pain and suffering and a diminished quality of life. if your settlement offer doesn’t, the offer is likely too low to accept.
how to counter offer an insurance settlement
Procedurally, you must make a counter offer in writing. Be sure to send your letter to the right person, whether it’s an insurance adjuster or an attorney. Make it clear that you are rejecting their initial offer and include your reasons for doing so. If they provided the reasons for their low starting figure in writing, you must also respond to them in writing. Include in your letter your willingness to compromise and the amount you would accept to settle the case, also known as your counter offer.
How is the amount of the counter offer calculated?
Before you respond, keep your emotions in check. A low offer can make anyone feel upset or insulted, but remember that the insurance company’s first offer is only the beginning of negotiations. To set the amount of your counter offer, you’ll need to think critically about your damages, the other party’s policy limits, as well as your potential assets.
Gather information and supporting documentation on the amount of damage you have incurred. In these calculations, you must include the following:
- your medical bills, including hospital stays, doctor visits, medical tests, and prescription drug costs
- any bills you have incurred as a result of damage to your personal property, such as mechanics bills or insurance deductibles
- information about wages you have lost as a result of not being able to work
- evidence of your overall damages, whether it be the extent and duration of your pain, therapy visits to combat mental anguish, or proof that you are no longer able to perform activities you enjoyed before your injury
Keep in mind that your special damages (those out-of-pocket expenses that can be easily determined, like medical bills) will likely be much easier to prove than your general damages, which include non-economic losses like pain and suffering. , mental anguish and loss of future income. those general damages can also be the bulk of the deal, leaving plenty of room for negotiation. Typically, the insurance company will use a specific formula, called an overall damage multiplier, to arrive at your damage estimate. Because that multiplier can vary and can greatly influence the amount of your recovery, it is important to consult with a personal injury attorney to successfully prove overall damages.
Once you’ve arrived at an accurate figure for your damages, you’ll need to compare that figure to the value of the insurance company’s offer. then determine what is a reasonable request, based on the difference and also based on policy limits and available assets. Your counter offer will probably be a little lower than the amount you originally requested in your initial demand letter, but not so low that it won’t adequately compensate for your losses.
what can you expect once you counter?
After submitting your counter offer, you will need to continue to be patient throughout the process. It is common for a swing to occur in personal injury claims. your counteroffer may receive another counteroffer from the insurance company, and so on. Being patient and sensible, and being prepared to present evidence and documentation to support your claims, will help you endure the sometimes lengthy process of settlement negotiations.
Once you and the insurance company agree on a settlement amount, you’ll sign a settlement agreement and release form. It is in your best interest to retain the services of an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney to review these documents as well as negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. At fvf, our goal is to arm you with the knowledge and support you need to stand up to insurance providers. contact us today to get started.