If you’ve filed a claim after an accident, you’ll probably be talking to a claims adjuster soon. It’s an insurance claims adjuster’s job to review the facts of the case and offer a settlement amount that covers your damages and closes the claim. Once you’ve received the first offer, you’ll have to decide whether to accept it or try to negotiate a more favorable agreement. Here, we offer some tips on successfully settling a case.
When the Initial Settlement Offer is Too Low
Insurance adjusters are given the authority to settle motorcycle accident claims within a set value range. No one wants to start negotiations at the middle or the top of the range, and insurance adjusters are no exception. Typically, they’ll start near the bottom of the scale, as it’s their job to settle cases as inexpensively as possible.
That’s why it’s unwise to accept the first settlement offer you receive, even if it seems fair. Take some time to review the offer, and remember that you have the right to reject it if it won’t cover your injuries and losses.
Valuing an Accident Settlement
The most crucial thing to do before accepting a settlement offer is to determine how much the claim is worth. Evaluating an accident claim takes experience, as well as the consideration of factors such as:
- The severity of the property damage
- The amount of medical bills
- Lost income
- Future costs associated with recovery
If the first offer is too low, it means that you’re not being fairly compensated for the pain, suffering and financial losses associated with an accident. However, an attorney can help you determine the value of the claim before accepting a settlement offer.
Here are a few tips to follow when assessing the value of an accident settlement claim.
- Know your insurance policy. Does it include medical coverage, and if so, what’s the limit? Do you have comprehensive and collision coverage? It’s important to remember that you can only claim injuries and damages that are covered by the policy.
- Add up medical bills and other expenses. The insurance adjuster will want to see copies of these bills, including trips to doctor’s appointments, prescription costs, and more.
- Consider the extent of your treatment. Was the treatment program extensive? Was the injury so bad that you couldn’t live a normal life, or did you have to get therapy? You’ll be able to get compensation for the loss of quality of life.
- Get your vehicle fixed. Be sure you’re getting enough money to return your vehicle to its pre-accident condition or to replace it if that’s not possible.
- Determine who was responsible. In many cases, drivers share the blame for accidents. When valuing a claim, it’s important to consider how much you contributed to the losses and injuries you incurred. It’s quite common for insurers to overstate your share of responsibility to avoid paying a claim’s full value.
- Consider future costs. Will you have to miss work to go to medical appointments, or are you permanently disabled? These ongoing costs are also part of an insurance claim.
Assigning a dollar value to an auto accident claim is a difficult and tedious process, but it’s crucial when determining whether a settlement offer is fair. It may also help to ask the claims adjuster which factors they considered when creating the offer. You can evaluate those same factors and find ways to dispute them. Take some time, hire an attorney, and know the value of the claim before deciding on an insurer’s settlement offer.
Responding to an Accident Settlement Offer That’s Too Low
If you’ve received a settlement offer that is unfairly low, you’ll have to negotiate with the insurance company. Most people lack the legal knowledge and experience to handle these negotiations, so it’s a good idea to have an attorney’s help during this process. During the negotiation phase, remember these tips.
- Never accept the first settlement offer. Formally reject it by writing a claim letter stating the case’s facts, the extent of your injuries, and the value of the settlement. Your attorney can help you draft such a letter.
- Set an acceptable range. After establishing the claim’s value, choose a range that you believe would constitute fair compensation for your losses.
- Let the adjuster make the initial offer. Remember that insurance adjusters are also working within a range, and the first offer will almost always be at the low end.
- Start at the high end. It’s easier to go down than to go up when negotiating a settlement offer. Explain the circumstances that led you to arrive at the figure you’ve provided.
- Try to be fair. Do not ask for a high amount simply because you know the insurance adjuster has room to increase their offer. That won’t help you settle the claim, and it may even backfire. Asking for more money may lead to further negotiations, but it is important to be reasonable.
Your attorney will work with you to evaluate the case’s facts, consider the factors mentioned above to arrive at a fair settlement offer. Call today for more details or to request a consultation.
The time after an auto accident can be a frightening and confusing one, and most victims don’t know what to do and where to turn. Before starting negotiations with the other driver’s insurance company, it’s crucial to know when to seek legal counsel and what a personal injury attorney can do for you. If you believe the offer you’ve received is unfair, politely decline it and tell the insurance adjuster you need some time to think it over. Then, call an attorney to find out how much your injury case is worth.
For years, we’ve helped locals get the settlements they deserve, and we’d like to help you do the same. Request more information online or call today to schedule a no-obligation initial consultation with a personal injury attorney.