Saying that a car accident is expensive is an understatement. Between the vehicle damage, hospital bills and missed workdays, motor vehicle accident costs can really add up. The first offer from the insurance company will likely be too low to cover your damages. Insurance companies expect negotiation for a settlement and therefore will start with a number lower than what they would be comfortable paying out.
An insurance company might offer you a low settlement because:
- You were partially negligent in the accident
- They don't have all the information needed for an accurate offer
- It is a negotiation tactic
If you have received a low settlement offer, then you can take the following steps to counter it for a better number. Note: it is best to have a personal injury attorney advise and represent you throughout the entire process.
Write a response letter
Your attorney can help you draft a written response to the settlement offer. If the insurance company sent a low offer because they didn't have all the information needed, then this would be a good time to send them the details. Gather documents such as medical bills, medication receipts and repair estimates. You can include them right alongside your letter. This new information can help the insurance company provide a more accurate offer.
If they sent you low offer as a negotiation tactic then you can also include the emotional suffering that you have experienced. If you have been injured and traumatized from a serious accident then you can receive more for your claim. Normally an insurance company will take your costs and multiply that by 1.5 or 2 to get your claim number. For people who have experienced a lot of pain and suffering, they might get their costs multiplied by 5 or possibly 10.
Send a counteroffer
It can be more beneficial to send a counteroffer to the insurance company rather than a simple refusal. Sometimes the insurance adjuster will take the offer, but usually there is an exchange of a few different letters or phone calls while the adjuster tries to bring your counteroffer down. After you reach a settlement number that works for both of you, then you will sign a release of liability form. After that, they will send you a check for the amount you agreed upon.
However, in many cases, insurance companies will not budge. To get the compensation you need and deserve, you can file a personal injury lawsuit with the help of an attorney. Sometimes the real threat of a lawsuit is enough to bring an insurance company to a better offer settlement.