How to Reject a Low Settlement Offer

How to Reject a Low Settlement Offer

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Injuries are costly, both physically and economically. Some injuries have life-altering consequences such as permanent disability and an inability to return to work in the previous capacity or at all.

Even less serious injuries can quickly cause financial hardship, sometimes with as little as a single missed paycheck and a hefty medical bill for emergency care. A personal injury claim against the individual or business responsible for the injury ensures that the injury victim isn’t left with the undue burden of expenses. It also helps injury victims to feel a sense of justice and accountability.

In most cases, the insurance company of the party at fault for the injury pays for the economic and non-economic consequences of the injury to the victim—known as “damages” in a personal injury case. This could be a car insurance policy after a traffic accident or malpractice insurance in a medical malpractice claim. But what happens if your damages far exceed the amount of the insurance company’s settlement offer?

Common Methods Insurance Companies Use to Lowball Settlement Amounts

Insurance companies exist to make profits, typically at the expense of the payout an injury victim deserves. Insurers routinely undervalue—or lowball—accident claims by using predictable methods. These could include the following:

  • Calling very soon after the accident with a low settlement offer before the victim knows the full extent of their damages. The injury victim must sign away their right to a lawsuit when they accept a settlement
  • Calling the victim on a recorded line and using their innocent remarks out of context against them later
  • Gaining medical authorization to view the accident report and then scouring through the victim’s medical history to find a pre-existing condition they can blame as the real cause of painful symptoms
  • Using the state’s comparison negligence insurance laws to assign an undue percentage of blame to the injury victim

Using the comparison negligence system against an injury victim is one of the most effective ways insurance companies attempt to get away with unacceptably low settlement offers.

In modified comparison negligence states like Colorado, the amount of a victim’s payout on a claim is reduced by their percentage of fault. If the insurance investigator claims that the victim was 30% at fault for a car accident they can reduce a payout on a $100,000 claim to $70,000.

How Do Injury Victims Decline Low Settlement Offers?

No injury victim should ever accept an early settlement before they know the extent of the present and future damages associated with their injury. Early settlements are almost always far lower than a claim is worth.

Insurance companies take advantage of an injury victim’s vulnerable state after an accident and hope they’ll take the offer and drop the case.

Instead, it’s best to refuse the offer and refer the insurance adjuster on the case to your experienced personal injury lawyer. Your attorney puts their own investigative skills at work to establish the defendant’s liability for the injury, carefully calculates your damage to maximize the amount you can recover, and then makes a compelling case to the insurance company to begin negotiations for a settlement.

Often, simply having an attorney on the case is enough to obtain a more serious settlement offer.

If after negotiations and mediation attempts, the defendant’s insurance company still doesn’t offer an ample settlement, your Westminster personal injury attorney may advise you to take the case to court with a lawsuit.

Even though court litigation takes longer to resolve an injury case, a jury award for damages is almost always a larger amount than you’d receive in a settlement.