Negotiating with insurance companies can be long and stressful, especially without a lawyer. You may face physical pain and compounding financial strain from pilling medical bills and missing work. You may also experience emotional trauma. In the face of these stressors, a lowball offer from an insurance adjuster can be upsetting or feel like an insult. Fortunately, you don’t always have to accept the first offer.
Personal injury claims often involve back-and-forth counter offers to reach an acceptable settlement. Insurance companies’ initial settlement offers are usually lower than what they are actually willing to pay. You have the right to reject the offer and make a realistic counteroffer. An experienced Greenville personal injury attorney understands the tactics insurers use to get injury victims to accept low-value settlements.
Contact the law firm of David R. Price, Jr., P.A. in Greenville to help you counter a settlement offer and fight for fair compensation for your losses.
Factors to Consider When Calculating a Counteroffer Amount
Knowing the total value of your claim is important in developing a compelling counteroffer. Your attorney should clearly understand your current and future financial expenses related to your accident or injury before starting settlement negotiations. While evaluating your losses, your attorney should also keep in mind the other party’s policy limits and potential assets.
Some factors that determine the value of your claim are:
Special damages/economic damages
This includes out-of-pocket expenses as a result of the accident, including:
- Present and future medical expenses, such as prescription costs, medical tests, and hospital bills
- Bills incurred due to property damage
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
You should gather evidence and supporting documents like medical records and bills, police reports, injury photos, and repair estimates to prove the losses you have sustained.
Unlike economic damages, general damages are challenging to prove or calculate. These non-monetary damages are:
- Emotional anguish
- Disability and disfigurement
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
Evidence of general damages may involve showing the extent and duration of your pain and suffering, proving that you can no longer do the things you used to enjoy, and therapy visits to cope with mental anguish. An attorney can help you determine and list your unique and general damages to get an estimate of the value of your claim.
Various factors can greatly influence the value of your settlement, depending on the facts surrounding your accident. During negotiations, a special formula known as a multiplier is sometimes used to calculate the damages, but there is not a set formula. The value of your case significantly increases if the other party’s conduct was unlawful or severely reckless, or if the accident results in catastrophic injuries, such as paralysis and traumatic brain injuries.
Your settlement value may also decrease due to the following reasons:
- You are partially responsible for the accident
- You encounter problems proving liability or your losses
- You don’t want prolonged negotiations
Once you have valued your case, compare it with the adjuster’s offer to determine if it is reasonable. Your counteroffer should be enough to adequately cover your damages.
Sending a Counteroffer Settlement Letter
You should write a formal letter rejecting the settlement offer if it seems unfair. The letter should state that you reject the offer and your reasons for doing so. It should also give your counteroffer and explain why you think it is appropriate. It should refute any claims or assumptions in the insurer’s letter that may harm your claim. It should also include any supporting documents like copies of bills and receipts.
Crafting counteroffer settlement letters is part of a personal injury attorney’s work. Consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer if you have concerns about countering an offer or your counteroffer letter.
Our Personal Injury Attorneys at David R. Price, Jr., P.A. Can Help
Initial lowball offers from insurers can be upsetting, considering the injuries and losses incurred. Fortunately, you can counter the settlement offer with your own offer to settle for fair compensation. Personal injury attorneys have the skills and experience to negotiate with insurance adjusters, and if negotiations fail, they can file suit and get you the monetary compensation you deserve for your injuries and damages. The threat of litigation is ultimately your best leverage for achieving a full and fair settlement of your claim.
Get in touch with the experienced lawyers at David R. Price, Jr., P.A. for a free consultation and find out how we can help you counter a low settlement offer.
FAQs On How To Counter A Low Settlement Offer
Can I negotiate after accepting a settlement offer?
Settlement agreements are binding contracts stating the rights and responsibilities of each party. Signing the agreement and accepting money terminates your legal right to sue the other party, and will prevent you from negotiating for more money after you accept a settlement.
What is a good settlement?
A good settlement will completely cover your injuries and losses, considering your circumstances and the sources of recovery that may be available.
What happens if I don’t accept the initial offer and counteroffers?
If you fail to accept any offer settlements, you must file suit before the statute of limitations expire, so you can take your case to trial. At trial, the jury will determine the value of your claim.
David Price is a Personal Injury, Civil Litigation, Collections, and Criminal Defense Attorney who practices in Greenville, SC. He graduated from the University of Georgia School of Law, and has been practicing law for 12 years. David Price believes in helping those who have been injured. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.