One of the most frequently asked questions we get about auto accident injury first offer settlements is should I accept my insurance companies first lowball offer to settle? The quick answer is NO! Unless you simply want to receive the lowest possible amount from your insurance company, you should not accept the first settlement offer that is put on the table. Why do so many victims do just this?
Sometimes, the first lowball settlement offer is accepted out of fear that the offer will be lowered as the case goes on. While not impossible, this is almost never likely. Insurance companies will almost always make a lowball offer in the beginning, hoping you will just accept it and move on. Other times, victims accept the first offer from an insurance company because they have heard stories about cases that take months or even years to settle. Generally, the first lowball settlement offer is accepted in an-effort to avoid long wait periods and receive settlement quickly. You may just want to get it out of the way and accept the first settlement amount that is thrown at you, but it may end up costing you in the end. Our experienced attorneys can help you negotiate an auto accident injury settlement that you deserve.
A lowball settlement offer for your Baltimore auto accident injuries can happen for a number-of reasons. One main reason is because you do not have an experienced auto collision attorney representing you. The insurance companies know which injured parties are represented by an attorney and which are unrepresented. In my experience, those individuals that are unrepresented are tendered lowball settlement offers, because the insurance companies know these people want to settle quickly. This is a mistake!
Additionally, our legal team understands that lowball settlement offers should never be accepted. A negotiation should be undertaken until the insurance company cries uncle, or taps out.
Insurance Claims Adjusters
The job of an insurance adjuster is to settle car collisions injury claims quickly with as little cost to the insurance company as possible. The adjuster is given a dollar range within which to settle the claim. It only makes sense for them to start at the lower end of the range and hope to close the case as cheaply as they can. When negotiating with a claims adjuster, you should always keep this in mind. With car accident injury settlements, the first offer will almost always be the lowest amount they are allowed to offer you. While it may take time to negotiate and receive the settlement you need and deserve, it could end up saving you a lot of headache and extra financial burdens in the end.
Review the Claim Offer
You should never just blindly accept the first offer thrown out there. Take the necessary time needed to review the offer and determine if it is a fair amount that will adequately pay for your injuries and damages now and in the future. Do not be afraid to reject it and demand a larger settlement. Remember that the first offer is likely the lowest amount the adjuster has been allowed. Contrary to what they may try to make you believe, you have wiggle room – use it. Consult with a car accident attorney to carefully review your case and the extent of your damages. A personal injury lawyer experienced with auto wreck injury settlements will help you adequately determine the amount you should settle for.
Always Consider Future Costs
Accepting the first lowball offer may get you a faster settlement amount and get it out of the way, but it may end up not being enough to cover your final injury and damage costs. Many times, the first offer will be made before you have really had time to access your total costs and losses.
Your injuries may be more extensive than you first realize. You may initially think your healing time will be brief or no further treatment is necessary. However, your injuries may become more complicated and worse over time. The full extent of some injuries may not become evident for days, weeks, or even months. You may find that more treatment, or even surgery, is required. If you have already settled with the insurance company, you cannot recover and further funds. This means any expenses and burdens that go beyond the settlement amount will come out of your own pocket.
These expenses may include:
- Hospital expenses
- Medical treatment
- Physical therapy
- Loss of income
It is always a smart idea to wait to settle with the insurance company until you have a decent grasp on the full extent of your injuries and the treatment that will be necessary. You should also keep in mind that any further medical treatments, surgeries, or hospital stays will require you to take extra time off from work and may result in a loss of income. Additionally, if you jump to take the first lowball settlement offer from the claims adjuster, you may miss the opportunity to recover damages for pain and suffering.
Steps To Take After a Lowball Settlement Offer
You do not have to accept the insurance companies first lowball settlement offer. In fact, the first offer is often just the starting point for negotiations.
The insurance company may tell you this is the best offer you are going to get and they will not offer more compensation. However, if you work with a car accident attorney, the insurance company is more likely to take your claim seriously and make other offers.
- Call a lawyer: Generally, accident victims who work with a lawyer recover more compensation than those who do not. This is particularly true when the victim suffered significant injuries. In a free consultation, a lawyer can determine if you have a valid claim and whether the initial settlement offer is anywhere close to what your claim may be worth.
- Determine the value of your claim: Your attorney can work with you to calculate the value of the damages and losses you suffered. This includes the value of lost wages, past and future medical bills, and pain and suffering, and more. This can be difficult to do on your own, as you attend doctor’s appointments and deal with other problems caused by this situation.
- Continue your medical treatment: This is of paramount importance during the claims process. If you stop going to doctor’s appointments or following through with your treatment, the insurance company may use that as a reason to devalue your claim. You also do not want to allow your injuries to worsen. You may be struggling to pay for the treatment you need, as you will not receive compensation until the end of the claims process, which may take several months or longer. However, there are a variety of options for injury victims who are struggling to pay medical bills while their claim is being negotiated. For example, you may be able to reach a deal with your medical provider to halt collection efforts until a settlement is reached. You may also be able to work out a payment plan that you can afford.
- Allow your attorney to negotiate: An experienced car accident attorney should be able to manage the legal process on your behalf. This includes dealing with the insurance company, investigating, building a strong case, and negotiating for compensation. Your attorney should keep you informed throughout the process and review settlement offers and counter offers with you.
- Take the case to court if necessary: Injury victims are often nervous about contacting a car accident lawyer because they do not want to have to go to trial. However, most of the time, cases are settled out of court. That said, it is important to hire a legal team who is prepared to go to court. Our team has litigation attorneys who fight hard in court for our clients. Insurance companies know the lawyers who never go to court, and they may be less likely to offer fair compensation to these lawyers. However, if an attorney regularly takes cases to court, insurance companies know they may need to offer more compensation. Sometimes all it takes is filing a lawsuit to get the insurance company to make a better offer. You might get to the point where your attorney is preparing for trial and the insurance company calls with a settlement offer.
Consequences of Accepting a Lowball Settlement Offer
It is important to understand that auto accident settlements are FINAL. If you accept their first lowball settlement offer, you cannot reopen the claim. You get one bite at the apple and you want to make sure it is the biggest bite you can get.
For example, if you accept the $5,000 offer within a couple of days of the auto collision, you do not know yet what your lost wages are going to amount to, what your medical bills are going to total or whether you are going to make a total recovery from your injuries.
The worst possible scenario would be your accepting that $5,000 offer, and then months later, you are looking at $25,000 worth of medical bills and expenses. Now you have left $20,000 dollars on the table, let alone all the pain, and suffering you have endured.
And here is why that really matters, because like I said, you only get one bite of the apple. You need to know whether you have made a full recovery or whether you are going to have future needs for more medical treatment or problems in the future.
The problem with these initial lowball settlement offers is it takes none of this into account. How can they? They are making you an offer within days, often before any medical assessment of your car collision injuries have been performed.
They do not know how much your medical bills are. They do not know how much your lost wages are. And they do not know how you are going to recover from your injuries.
Do not let the insurance companies take advantage of you or your loved ones. They know we are all hurting out there. They know that inflation is high. They know people need some money in their pocket now. But they want to keep as much of the money as they can in their own pockets. Any they are trying to keep money from you by making you the lowball settlement offer now.
If you have been injured in an auto accident, always consult with an experienced car accident attorney before settling with the insurance company. The Law Offices of Larry B. Litt has been helping car crash victims for decades. We are well-aware of the tactic’s insurance adjusters use to reduce your claim amount and know what it takes to counter those tactic’s. We will not only help you determine what settlement amount is fair, but will fight and negotiate to ensure you recover adequate finances to cover the extent of damages and personal injury expenses. Contact us today at 443-844-1528 for a free, no obligation consultation about your case. If you hire us, there are no upfront fees. We are not paid unless you get paid.