Insurance companies are interested in maximizing their own profits rather than maximizing payouts to injury victims. Many insurance companies operate under the strategy of, “Delay and Deny”, in the hopes of waiting out the claims process to push the injured person to accept a lower settlement.
The insurance company usually does not want to pay out a massive settlement in every case. If they did, they would go broke. The claims agent’s job is to settle the claim for the lowest possible amount. That’s why many attorneys will encourage you to fight back against the insurance companies – it’s important to know when to fight.
It’s okay to make a counteroffer when an insurance company offers a settlement, but you have to make an educated decision before moving forward. These are some of the questions you should go over with your attorney:
- Is the counteroffer a sufficient settlement offer?
- Is the insurance company aware of all of your medical bills?
- Is the insurance company aware of the extent of your injuries?
- How are your injuries affecting you and your family?
- Has your injury impacted your future ability to work?
- How much have you incurred in lost wages?
- Does the settlement offer cover the full amount of your claim?
If the answer to any of these questions is “no” or “I don’t know”, it may be best to reconsider accepting the offer. However, you should also consider the emotional and financial stress the settlement process will put you through. Ultimately, this is a complicated decision that is best addressed by consulting with your attorney.
The first step in deciding whether or not to accept the offer is to compare the insurance company’s offer against your total expenses thus far. You should also ask the claims adjuster what factors they analyzed when presenting the claim, to see if they missed any information or expenses.
If you decide to respond to the offer, you will need to send in a written request detailing the circumstances surrounding either your acceptance or refusal of the offer. This will begin a back-and-forth process as both parties continue to gather evidence supporting their compensation request.
This is especially true in situations where the injuries are severe, as it can be more complicated to accurately quantify a fair settlement amount for harm that extends beyond the physical.
Refusing the offer will prompt a negotiation process between both parties. In this situation, it’s incredibly helpful to have a qualified attorney available to alleviate the stress of this process and ensure that the insurance company is not cutting corners or intentionally offering a settlement far lower than what you deserve.