After being involved in an accident, medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses can get quite astronomical. Everyone involved in your insurance claim knows this yet you could be given a lower compensation in terms of your settlement offer.
Why A Low Offer Might Happen
One of the most common reasons people get low insurance settlements is they didn’t submit all relevant documentation involving their medical bills. These documents include the records of physical damage resulting from the accident. As a result, a lot of guessing and estimating ended up happening until a figure was arrived at.
Other reasons might be that your vehicle might not have sustained much damage or your doctor’s visits were intermittent without explanation. Additionally, they might have concluded that the accident was not solely responsible for the injuries you have.
Either way, you’re not obliged to accept every offer that comes your way. There are steps you could take as a way of responding to a low settlement offer.
How To Respond To A Low Settlement Offer
Now that you know some of the issues that might be at play and are potentially sabotaging your case, you may now move along with the information and use it to your advantage where you may. Read below to know how to go around this issue.
1. Hire An Attorney
Some people wrongly assume they can go through the appeal process alone but it’s hardly a good idea. You need a personal injury lawyer for such instances.
Your attorney will have some primary functions in your settlement negotiations. The first is analyzing the extent of the damages you incurred. They will help come to a total figure of how much of the damages came from your pocket. In addition, they will play an even more important role in your case by translating non-monetary damages to an estimated dollar amount. These include mental distress, disruptions, and future expenses caused by the situation.
This is where their vast experience handling similar cases is going to play a big role. They likely already know how cases such as yours will usually get.
2. Be Calm And Study Your Offer
Try not to panic and see this as the end of your compensation claim. Don’t accept anything in haste, instead try to be as calculative as you can because it’s one of the things that will help you the most at this point.
An accident can be a life-changing incident and getting a low settlement could understandably rattle you. But even in that mist of emotions of seeing your pain and suffering being understated, try to keep relations with everyone as cordial as you can. If you’re not sure how to go about this then just leave most of the talking to your attorney. Because indeed, anything you say or do can be used against you in court. It’s wise to be careful.
3. Ask The Right Questions
What you should be doing is asking the adjuster for a breakdown of how the said amount was arrived at. What factors were at play, what was considered the most, or what weighed down your case most. The adjuster is required to answer these questions when asked. Although, many people are too scared to ask. You’ll need the information you’re given at this point if you’re to try and come up with a counteroffer.
4. Lay Down The Facts
You hopefully have a paper trail of every fact you seek to present to your adjuster. This is why it’s important to keep a record of every injury through photos and medical records, medical costs, lost wages, and vehicle damage among other documentation. This should help you support your claim and angle for a better offer.
5. Work On Developing A Counter Offer
If you’re unable to come up with a counteroffer, contact your attorney and ask them for advice. When doing this, try and take into consideration all factors that might influence your adjuster’s decision such as your insurance policy limitations.
Argue on why the different elements of your claim should be valued more by considering what they represent. These include the extent of your pain and suffering, medical bills, or vehicle damages. Only if you can’t settle out of court will an in-court settlement be necessary.
6. Wait For Your To Be Healed Before Settling For An Offer
Try and wait until you’ve healed and understood the full scope of the damage and injuries you’ve sustained. Before then, don’t settle. Any settlement after that would be worse than your original offer.
However, settling for an offer isn’t bad if you understand the position you’re in. It may even be what you need at this time to aid your recovery or pay off any medical bills. Although, it might be harder to negotiate a third time should you do it wrong this time as well.
It’s okay and even recommended for you to wait until your injuries heal before settling on an amount. If you need help with this, contact your accident attorney who will be there to advise you on the matter and help you avoid making mistakes during the process. They’ve seen similar cases like yours so they understand what needs to be done for you to get the compensation owed to you.